Cricket may have reached Warwickshire by the end of the 17th century. The Warwickshire & Staffordshire Journal was certainly aware of the sport in 1738 for it carried a report of a London v Mitcham game at the Artillery Ground on 11 August (London won by 1 wicket). The earliest confirmed reference to cricket in the county is a match announcement in Aris’ Gazette on 15 July 1751. There was a prominent club in Coventry towards the end of the 18th century which played two well-documented matches against Leicester in 1787 and 1788. Reports of both games are included in Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket by G. B. Buckley. Leicester won both games by 45 and 28 runs respectively.Warwickshire CCC was officially founded on 8 April 1882 at a meeting in The Regent Hotel, Leamington Spa. The club developed so well that by the time of the first official County Championship in 1890 it was playing some of the top first-class counties such as Surrey and Yorkshire. Warwickshire became first-class themselves in 1894 and surprised the cricket world with wins over Surrey at The Oval and Nottinghamshire. They competed in the County Championship from 1895 but despite being strong in batting, their bowling was, until the arrival of Sam Hargreave and Frank Field in 1899, very weak. From 1900 to 1906 they were strong enough to be in the upper-middle reaches of the table, but the decline of their bowling from 1907 returned them to the lower reaches of the table late in that decade.
Frank Foster, who first played as an amateur left arm pace bowler in 1908 but improved greatly in 1910 as a result of slowing his pace to gain accuracy, still stands as Warwickshire's greatest all-rounder. In 1911 he headed both batting and bowling averages and, along with a fully fit Frank Field, enabled Warwickshire to take the Championship from the "Big Six" for the only time between 1890 and 1935. Foster and Field took between them 238 wickets, but in Wisden nobody doubted that Warwickshire's win was largely caused by an abnormally dry summer, and the following three years saw them return to mid-table although Foster in 1914 displayed all-round form equal to that of 1911.
In 1919, with Foster having had an accident that ended his short career, Warwickshire fell to last in the table. They did not improve a great deal until the 1930s when Bob Wyatt's captaincy and the bowling of Mayer, Paine and Hollies moved them to fourth in 1934, but as Paine rapidly declined, they fell away. When Wyatt left for Worcestershire after World War II, they declined even further despite Hollies' wonderful bowling in 1946 – with no support at all, he took 175 wickets for only 15 each. The acquisition of New Zealand speedster Tom Pritchard gave Hollies the necessary support and by 1948 they had one of the strongest attacks in county cricket. It was this bowling power, along with effective if not wonderful batting, that gave them the Championship in 1951. However, as with 1911, they fell off rapidly as their batting became unreliable over the rest of the decade. After Hollies' retirement in 1957, there were some very poor seasons (though they came fourth in 1959 due to Mike Smith's superb batting) until Tom Cartwright emerged as a top-class seam bowler in 1962. The county came second in 1964, but did not establish itself at the top until the late 1960s. In 1971 Lance Gibbs' magnificent bowling enabled them to come second, whilst brilliant batting gave them a clear Championship win in 1972.
The land that now makes up Edgbaston Cricket Ground was originally owned by the Calthorpe Estate, who have now sold the site onto Wylam Investments (Edgbaston Holdings) on a long lease. Calthorpe Estates had developed the manor of Edgbaston into an exclusive Birmingham suburb over the course of the 19th century, and believed that a cricket ground would be an asset that would add to the genteel image of the area. Warwickshire County Cricket Club had considered Rugby and Leamington Spa for their headquarters, but club secretary William Ansell believed that Birmingham's large population and comprehensive railway connections made it preferable – envisaging first-class status for the county and Test status for the ground.
The club had initially favoured the Wycliffe Ground on Pershore Road, but were instead offered a 12-acre "meadow of rough grazing land" in an undeveloped area on the banks of the River Rea by the Calthorpe Estate – the less attractive development land having more to gain from association with the cricket ground. With the site only 20 minutes' walk from New Street Station, Warwickshire agreed in 1885 to lease the land for £5 per acre over a 21-year period. A further £1,250 was spent on draining and enclosing the site and building a wooden pavilion. The new ground's first match took place on 7 June 1886 against the MCC, watched by 3,000 spectators over two days, with 6,000 turning out on 9 and 10 August to watch Warwickshire play Australia. Edgbaston's first test match was the first in The Ashes series against Australia in 1902, for which the club erected a permanent stand, two temporary stands and facilities for 90 members of the press.
South Stand, built over the site of the previous pavilion in 2011, the stand is a multi-tiered structure which holds the Press Box, hospitality suites, players changing rooms, administration offices, Visitor and Learning Centre, the Club shop and banqueting halls. The South Stand (Pavilion) has a seating capacity of over 4,000 spectators. West Stand: Built in 2011 on the site of the previous William Ansell Stand, the West Stand has two large tiers of seating. Adjacent to the south is the Edgbaston Suite – a 750-seat banqueting and exhibition space whose bright blue presence is a distinctive feature of both the inside and the outside of the ground – above which facing the pitch is a large electronic scoreboard. Priory Stand. Raglan Stand. R. E. S. Wyatt Stand, built at the City End in 1995 and named after all-rounder Bob Wyatt, the stand consists of a single tier of seating beneath two rows of executive boxes. Facilities in the stand include two pitch-view restaurants: the Marston's Suite and the Executive Club, together with the David Heath Suite, currently used by Warwickshire members. Press Box Stand. Built in 1957 and first used for that year's test match against the West Indies it hosted the ground's press facilities until the opening of the new South Stand in 2011. A two tier stand, it is allocated as an alcohol-free family area for major matches. Stanley Barnes Stand. A small single tier stand opened in 1989, the Stanley Barnes Stand is situated in front of the Thwaite Memorial Scoreboard, the ground's most distinctive feature. Eric Hollies Stand. Formerly known as the Rea Bank, after the River Rea which runs immediately to its rear, this is traditionally the most raucous area of the ground. The stand was rebuilt in 2003 with 5,900 seats, an increase of 1,300 over its predecessor. The design features a series of eight aluminium sunshades suspended over the single tier of seating on simple steel masts, appearing to hover over the crowd beneath.
Home and Away wheelchair users do not have separate seating areas. Wheelchair users have a designated accessible seating area with 95 spaces. There is level access to the designated seating area. There is access by lift. Wheelchair seating is located on the first floor and the view from this area is good, a companion can sit beside or near you. Accessible toilets are available located to the rear of the seating area. There is an audio description service, through head sets, available but there is a charge for this. All rows are suitable for hearing loops and staff are trained to use the system. All matches are broadcast via the BBC local radio service. Assistance dogs are welcome. Of all England’s Test Grounds Edgbaston is the least disrupted by rain - losing an average of fewer than 90 minutes of play per match between 1979 and 1988, compared to over 8 hours per match at other grounds.
Location : Edgbaston Stadium, Edgbaston Road, Birmingham, West Midlands, B5 7QU
Transport: Birmingham New Street (National Rail) then bus. Bus Routes: 45 and 47 from New Street stop outside.
Capacity : 25,000
Opening Times: Daily 09:30 to 17:00
Tickets T20 Blast : Adults £19.00; Juniors ( under 16 ) £0.00
Tickets One Day: Adults £15.00; Juniors ( under 16 ) £0.00
Tickets England ODI: Adults £36.00; Juniors ( under 16 ) £11.00
Tickets England Test: Adults £41.00
Tel: 0844 635 1902