AG- Part 15


Photo courtesy : BBC sport

Photo courtesy : Keswick CC

Fitz Park is a public park in Keswick, Cumbria, England.  Landscaped in the Victorian period, the Park is covered with Shrubberies and specimen trees and provides open space for recreation.  At the foot of Latrigg & Skiddaw in the heart of the Lake District National Park, overlooked by impressive fells including Walla Crag, Cat Bells lies one of the loveliest grounds in the United Kingdom. 

 Flanked by the River Greta on the town side, Fitz Park is home to Keswick Cricket Club.  This club plays in the premier division of North Lancashire and Cumbria Cricket League.  The club’s second and third XIs play in the Eden Valley Cricket League.

Address :


Lower Fitz Park



CA12 4EJ

Landscaped in the Victorian period, the park contains shrubberies and specimen trees, and provides open space for recreation. There are sports grounds for tennis and bowls, and the Keswick Museum and Art Gallery is situated there. 

Keswick Museum and Art Gallery.  Photo :

The first recorded match on the ground was in 1955, when Cumberland played the Lancashire Second XI in the Minor Counties Championship. Cumberland used the ground from 1955 to 1966 and 2000 to 2008; during this time the ground hosted 10 Minor Counties Championship matches, with the final match held at the ground in that competition being between Cumberland and Northumberland in 2008. During that time the ground has also hosted 2 MCCA Knockout Trophy matches, the last of which came in 2001, when Cumberland played Northumberland.

The ground has also hosted a single match between Cumberland and the Nottinghamshire Cricket Board in the 1st round of the 2003 Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy.

Founded in the mid-1880s, cricket is played at Fitz Park.  The Park came into prominence in 2001 when “Wisden” monthly voted this as “the Loveliest cricket Ground” in the country and the Pavilion bears a plaque to commemorate the event.  The fantastic play area in the lower Park includes equipment for children.

Children play area in Fitz ParkPhoto courtesy:  The

The first recorded match on the ground was in 1955 when Cumberland played the Lancashire Second XI in the Minor County League championship.

Fitz Park is owned by a Board of Trustees nominated by the Kenwick Town Council.

The Club is not charged any rent but is responsible for the maintenance of the ground and the Pavilion.

International cricketers like Darren Gough, Hansie Cronje and David Boon appeared in Benefit matches at the ground to raise funds for a new pavilion.

Over the years the Club has employed a number of overseas professionals and recently Geeth Kumara, a Srilankan all-rounder who apart from playing for the First XI, also coaches junior players and teams.

A devastating Storm Desmond caused havoc in 2015 when the River Greta overflowed and flooded the ground for the first time in its history.  The pavilion built in the year 1995 was severely damaged and needed renovation.  The members of the club rose to the occasion of restoring the Park to its original glory and ECB grants helped the ground to retain its prominence   

In 2016, Keswick CC won the Burton Cup in 1996, their first trophy and followed it with a win in the Cumbria Cricket League next year.  And most recently in 2013, the Club won the County Cup.



This Crooklets cricket ground is situated in Bude, North Cornwall.

Address :-


Crooklets Cricket Ground

Bude North Cornwall

Summerleaze Downs, Bude



 Photo courtesy : FB page of the club

Cricket has been played in this beautiful Clifftop setting overlooking the Atlantic ocean since 1959.  Originally called Bude-Stratton CC, the club dates back to 1870, changed its name in1958 but reverted back to as Bude North Cornwall.

With strong south-Westerlies blowing, it’s not an easy task to organise cricket here.  From January onwards the Club Chairman Tony Greaves and John Blackburn spent a lot of time preparing the ground.  John Blackburn’s rich experience as a groundsman comes in handy to prepare wicket here. Incidentally, Blackburn is a former professional groundsman who worked at Old Trafford ground.

The wicket is full of runs but the real problem is the wind as once a bowler bowled 18 wides in an over. And on another occasion the covers put on the field had disappeared overnight and found in the Car parking area.

Since 2014, the club has a new pavilion to be proud of.  The first pavilion erected in 1883 was replaced in the 1930s. And again due to wear and tear it was replaced thanks to a grant from SPORT ENGLAND, which also helped finance for pitches, coaching equipment, covers and sight screens.  

The results were palpable as the Club performed well in the 2015 season.

The beautiful location of the ground is well known to everyone and every visiting team to England prefers friendlies here.

Late Brian Alexander Johnson, CBE, a British Commentator, author and TV presenter used to visit Bude for holidaying and to attend matches.

And the state-of-the art Pavilion entices people to visit the place,  Wired fencing covers the boundary lines.  On the other side of the fence jaywalkers enjoy a stroll along the cliff top between Crooklets Beach and Summerleaze Beach.

Bude CC played only friendlies until late 1970s, entertaining local and touring sides through the summer.  Since joining the Cornwall Cricket League , the Club has held various league honours and still continues to host touring teams from around the  world.

With the ageing pavilion demolished in 2013 and a new pavilion constructed along with a new Club House, the ground is having a stunning look and playing is a pleasure.




Changing room facilities on-site


An Artificial match play wickets

Car Parking ( including for disabled)

Grass Pitches

This club, before entering Cornwall Cricket Leagues in the 1980s, played almost 50 friendlies a year against visiting teams.  In the 1990s it also joined the North Devon League on Sundays.  But now it no longer plays in this League and preferred hosting the touring teams.    



 Photos courtesy : FB page of CCC

Coniston cricket ground is set in Lake District National Park, with a stunning view of Yewdale Crag mountain. 

The locale is full of impressive features such as the Old Man of Coniston, which rises dramatically behind the houses and dominates the village and it’s Walkers and Climbers’ favourite spot and has attracted tourists since the introduction of Railways in the Victorian era.

The area is associated with famous personalities like John Ruskin, the art critic, philanthropist and social thinker who lived here and Beatrix Potter, best-known children’s books owner of an Estate in a nearby area and Donald Campbell, the water speed record holder.

Coniston Water in the English county of Cumbria in Northwest England is the largest lake in the Lake District by volume and by area.  It’s 5 miles long and half a mile wide and a depth of 184 feet.  The lake has an elevation of  143 ft. above sea level.

The Coniston Cricket club has been desperate for some time to replace its small, ageing pavilion.  It was founded in 1890 and the club plays in Divisions 1 & 4 of the Westmorland Cricket League and had its successes over the years.  Now It has three sides viz., first and second teams and junior boys.  

The club’s former base was a small wooden structure with very limited facilities, with parts dating back over 100 years, to when the club began in 1910. In contrast, the new pavilion, built by Cumbrian firm Hesket Timber Buildings and Joinery, is complete with a kitchen and bar in the centre with an indoor seating area, two changing rooms, two toilets and an outdoor decking. The interior work and final additions were done voluntarily by players from the cricket team.

Donations came in from local businesses, charities, trusts, and the public. The Rawdon Smith Trust was one of the charities who contributed significantly towards the new pavilion. Before cutting the ribbon in front of the crowds of people that had gathered at the ground to witness the opening, Vera Grant said: “The Trust has great pleasure in opening this pavilion. We’re very keen on community activity and Coniston is remarkably fortunate in having wonderful facilities and lots of community groups who are prepared to make things work.”

Coniston Cricket Club have been raising the £35,000 from 2015,  needed to repair a rotten and falling down pavilion.

Coniston Cricket Club’s brand-new pavilion was officially opened in 2019 by Rawdon Smith Trust Trustee Vera Grant.


A fundraising campaign involving the All Stars programme for 5-8 year old kids and over 25 kids signed up and they enjoyed a fun, interactive programme; the parents and other family members came to watch and enjoy the new Pavilion.  Ladies enjoyed taking part in women’s soft ball sessions.  

The club runs All Stars and the new 8-11 years kids viz., Dynamos regularly from 2020 along with the soft ball for Mums, Aunts, Nans , sisters etc and also organizing a women’s softball festivals.


The club also conducts rudiments of the game, like Scorers training, and also First Aid training etc.

The club plays senior cricket on most Saturdays from April- October.

There’s physical access to the site and access to the sports on offer in general and can be accessed from Yewdale Road through a wooden gate that is permanently open.  Parking is on the road.

The club welcomes public interest in their sports and they allow people to visit the site and use it when no game is played.  The pitches can be hired and there are ideas to offer lessons and introductions for visitors.

Plenty of benches are now available to view the games from all angles.  The club also welcomes new members and more guests to the game.

More people are turning up to watch the games and has given a great space to run activities in the village.  People enjoyed BBQ, home made cakes, a bar and a raffle , all of which were organised by people in the community.

The All Stars programme for 5-8 years is an initiative of England & Wales Cricket Board and around 30 children both boys and girls turn up in cricket based games.  This programme is run by club volunteers and takes place every Friday evening from 5.30 p.m. 



The Clifton County Cricket Club is situated in Te Awanga, North Island, New Zealand.

The ground was the brainchild of a local Farmer and his friend. They gazed out at the natural amphitheatre encircled by idyllic rolling hills and within a few yards was a spectacular view of the South Pacific.  Wonderful wines were produced there. 

 Inspired by England Village cricket,  they thought it would be a wonderful idea to create a cricket ground.  With a lot of support from local people and hard work, this was achieved. Five hundred truck and trailer loads of free topsoil for the playing surface,  irrigation system was introduced to counter the arid summer conditions and all-weather pitch was laid.  

But it was the next generation of the founding members’ family who took the game to the next high level.

Though cricket is always primary, the organisers are involved in several projects including the planting of 7000 trees and reintroduction of native birds into the ecosystem.  In fact, the present managers of this club say they follow a three-pronged project viz., conservation, recreation and agriculture.

Members of the club are involved in conservation projects like planting trees and reintroducing native birds into the ecosystem .

Photo courtesy :   Clifton Cricket Club

Clifton is now a recognised port-of-call for cricket lovers and a constant stream of visitors make a visit and admire the natural beauty of the ground. 

The ground hosted one of the side matches to the 2015 World Cup, the local club playing a celebrity side consisting of former Test players, All Blacks and TV personalities captained by former Australian pace dynamo Jeff Thomson.  The game was called the Cricket Art Deco match because Napier, a nearby town, is an Art Deco marvel.  Players and spectators joined in the fun, dressing up in ethnic clothes.

When the Clifton County Cricket Club (CCCC) was started in 1985 it was during the peak of New Zealand cricket’s first great cricketing era.  New Zealanders couldn’t get enough of the game, and among them was the Nilsson’s family.

Visitors used to throng the Hawke’s Bay village of Te Awanga, half an hour drive of South Napier for 2 things viz.,Beautiful Vineyards and cycling trails in the Bay.  And now the CCCC ground is added as the 3rd option of fame.  This unique cricket ground, the scene of sporadic and relaxed village cricket style matches is a happy hunting ground.

Nilsson’s family who owned the Te Awanga farmland thought a cricket pitch in a special spot on the family sheep farm would be a great way to bring family and friends together for some special backyard cricket on Sunday afternoons.

Soon the word spread of this beautiful ground on a private cricket ground, New Zealand cricketers showed interest.  Former Captain Geoff Howarth made his way to Te Awanga to experience it.

After the 1980s the club went into a lull.  Then in 2012, the young members of Nillson, Chris and his friend Sam Howard took personal interest and  dusted off the dream to grow Clifton into a proper cricket ground on a two Hectare site.

Today, Mark Greatbatch, the former swashbuckling opener of New Zealand who played in 1980/1990s is proud to play as one of 250 Hawke’s Bay families who are members of CCCC.  



Photo :

Citi Field is a  baseball stadium located in Flushing Meadows- Corona Park in New York City. It was opened in 2009 and is the home field of Major League Ball’s New York Mets. 

Citi Field was designed by Populous  (then HOK Sport). The $850 million baseball park was funded with $615 million in public subsidies, including the sale of New York City Municipal Bonds  that are to be repaid by the Mets with interest. The payments will offset the property taxes for the lifetime of the park.

When you turn up at Citi Field on a normal match day you will be watching the NEW YORK METS play in Major League Baseball’s National League East.

On a different occasion, however, some of the best known cricketers in the world turned up  at Citi Field and played cricket.  On 7th November 2015, Shane Warne’s Warriors played Sachin Tendulkar’s Blasters at Citi Field ground.

New turf arrived in steel trays on a lorry and within 48 hours the baseball stadium readied into a Drop-in pitch cricket stadium.

This unlikely venture was the brainchild of the ICC which is ever anxious to globalise the game.New York and Los Angeles have large expat populations from cricket playing nations who are hungry to watch the game and strategically, the ICC is trying to position cricket as an Olympic sport.  Cricket has been played at the Olympics, but only once in 1900 in Paris, France, which was represented by only 2 teams viz.,France and Great Britain, which was won by Great Britain.

Now plans are afoot to host the T20 World Cup in 2024 by U.S.A. jointly with West Indies. 

It is not as if cricket is unknown in the U.S.A.  In fact International Cricket was first played by the U.S.A. and Canada way back in  1844.  

 W.G. Grace of England successfully toured the U.S.A. Canada in 1872 .  Around the turn of the 20th Century, arguably the best bowler in the World was an American , John Barton King of Philadelphia.  Don Bradman and Australians toured the U.S.A and Canada in 1932 and played lot of games there.

The inaugural Cricket All-Star Series, headlined by some of the sport’s biggest stars, was played on 7th Nov.2015  at Citi Field in New York. The three-game series  was also  played through Houston and Los Angeles.

The teams were led by India’s Sachin Tendulkar, the most prolific run producer in the history of cricket, and Australia’s Shane Warne, considered one of the best spin bowlers ever. This series  was the first time either cricket legend has ever played in the United States. The game was played as a T-20  format.

Citi Field was chosen by Shane Warne’s Warrior  &  Sachin Tendulkar’s Blasters  teams as the First match of the 3 match series of “Cricket All- Stars”  in U.S.A. on 7th November 2015 which was won by Shane Warne’s team.  In fact all the 3 match series in USA was won by Shane Warne’s Warrior team.  The exercise is set to be repeated and shown LIVE on T.V. in future years.  

So overall, the venture seems to have been successful and ICC may be feeling quite satisfied.



Photo courtesy  :

Apart from the county cricket grounds themselves, very few cricket venues are in good enough shape to host a first-class county or limited overs game.

Today there is really only one school ground where county cricket is played regularly.  Each year since 1872 Cheltenham college has run an “Annual Cricket Week “, more accurately ‘ two weeks’ an event which used to be a lot more common than it is now, due to the loss of outgrounds.

Since the 1850s, the college team of Cheltenham regularly played competitive matches against the cricket teams of other schools and colleges.

In 1871, they played a match against Worcestershire, a representative county team. This otherwise ordinary match helped the ground to garner the attention of the top tier of English cricket.

Capacity :  4000

End Names : Chapel End, College Lawn End.

Home Team :  Gloucestershire.

Cheltenham’s cricket week was instituted by James Lillywhite, the college Cricket coach and when he died in 1882, the 1883 takings were handed over to his widow in recognition of his work.

Today Cheltenham’s Cricket week is by far the “World’s Longest running Cricket Festival” on an outground and by modern standards attracts huge aggregate attendances of over 20,000.

Over 300 First-class games and more than 70 List A games have taken place here and there have been plenty of outstanding performances.

In1876, W.G. Grace scored an unbeaten triple century ( 318 ) and  in 1877 took 17 wickets for 89 against Nottinghamshire 

The first First-class match on this ground took place soon after in 1872. In that match against Surrey, Gloucestershire fielded the famous “three Graces” ( brothers). The  most famous of them, W.G. Grace took 12 wickets in the match, giving them an innings victory.

W.G. Grace called it the ‘ best pitch in the country’.  It has seen a Hat-trick of stumpings by W.H. Brain 1893 (and this ball is kept in the Museum in Glucestershire’s CCC, Bristol) , a Hat-trick of LBWs by the South African and Gloucestershire all rounder Mike Procter in 1979.

This ground also witnessed one of the darkest days in the history of Gloucestershire cricket. They were dismissed for a paltry total of 17 against the visiting Australians in 1896. A batting line featuring the likes of Grace and Jessop crumbled badly against the bowling of McKibbin and Trumble.

The 1902 Australians also played at Cheltenham and once again won by an innings. The crowd witnessed true cricketing genius at its best: Victor Trumper scored a century when everyone else struggled to score.

In 1921, the Aussie googly bowler, Arthur Mailey took 10/66 here and wrote a book titled as “10 for 66 And all that “. 

In 1928 Wally Hammond scored a century in each innings and took 10 catches, a world record against Surrey.

In 2005 this ground hosted a Women’s ODI match that went on to become a thriller. The Aussies scored 222 batting first. England countered quite splendidly, Arran Brindle and Claire Taylor  leading the charge. After their wickets fell, though, the Aussie bowling attack, led by Cathryn Fitzpatrick  prevailed by 12 runs.

The ground has a distinct slope and is attractively set, overlooked by the late vistorian buildings of the College and St. Luke’s church.  The ground is surrounded by a canvas fence, and many marquees during the festival.

In 1947,  the spectators turned up in large numbers and around 14,000 packed the ground for Gloucestershire Vs Middlesex, a match of Championship decider.  Though Middlesex won despite fine bowling by Tom Goddard’s 15/ 156 for Gloucestershire.  In 51 matches on this ground, Goddard took 269 wickets including 24 five-fors and 10 ten-fors. 

In olden days the ground was populated by Colonels and clergymen.  Although times have changed, it retains much of its appeal.  As David Hopps wrote in “ The Guardin”  Cheltenham is not snooty any longer, even if you can still spy the straw hats and tropical suits reminiscent of erstwhile days when the weavers were home on leave from the colonies.

The Festival is far more egalitarian.  Those long flowery dresses of Officers’ wives have given way to bare midriffs of nubile wine-bar girls not long out of one of the local young ladies colleges.  In early evening too,   the cacophony increases.

The edgy street art of the famous artist Banksy a stroll from Gloucestershire Chief’s Home, adds colour to the ground.

The college building, chapel, and refectory frame the ground down one side and the pavilion’s external walls are adorned with giant hanging baskets overflowing with summer blossoms between ground Gothic arch doorways.

Spectators stroll the entire ground in a circular fashion while watching the match in the middle uninterrupted.

Gloucestershire will celebrate its 150th Anniversary of playing matches at this ground this year ( 2022) and the setting makes it easy to understand the longevity of the “Cheltenham Cricket Festival”.

The  Glos’s  son of the soil W.G. Grace scored the second of his 2 triple centuries within a space of a week here in 1876.


Schoolchildren take centre stage at Cheltenham Festival – including radio interviews

more than 500 schoolchildren from across the county took centre stage on day two of the Brewin Dolphin Cheltenham Cricket Festival.

Pupils from 15 schools took part in a mass coaching session on the outfield during the lunch interval of the county’s game against Derbyshire in the LV Championship on July 15.

The day was featured on BBC Radio Gloucestershire.

The children were taking part in the first ever Gloucestershire Cricket schools day to be held at the festival.

It follows a similar event which saw more than 800 children visit the Bristol County Ground last month.

The schools day included free entry to the match and the chance to conduct a question and answer with Gloucestershire players Cameron Herring and James Fuller.

The pupils also received coaching in the Abercrombie and Kent coaching zone and tested their bowling skills in an inflatable bowling cage – complete with speedometer.

The children were also given a workbook filled with cricket-related tasks. Activities ranged from designing a new Gloucestershire mascot to working out which of the county’s current batsmen has the best average.

But it was the 20minute close catching challenge on the outfield that caused the most excitement.

Led by coaches from the Gloucestershire Cricket Board and volunteers from the county’s youth teams, the pupils formed a circle around the playing area and took part in a range of close-catching challenges.

Gloucestershire Cricket Board projects and programmes manager Chris Munden, who helped coordinate the day said: “To see all 500 children practicing their skills on the outfield, in front of the crowd was an amazing sight. The children seemed to really enjoy the whole day and created a great atmosphere while the game was going on.

“We have worked hard to create a well-rounded day that offers schoolchildren a chance to watch top class cricket, receive coaching and tie it all in with their academic work. Judging by the response of the children and their teachers it was a great success.

Gloucestershire CCC chief executive Will Brown said: “It looked and sounded like the children had a wonderful time and I had many of our members and ex-players saying how great it was to see them all there.

“One of my main aims as chief executive is to get more children into watching and playing cricket and hopefully days like this will inspire them to do just that.

the day was also supported by the Gloucestershire Cricket Board’s education partners Mezze Restaurants and Chance to Shine as well as office solutions firm Itec who printed the workbooks for free.



Towards the end of the 19th century the City of Charters Towers , Queensland, was the centre of Australia’s richest gold field with a population of over 30,000 people.  The boom petered out long ago and today around 10,000 people are living there.

Photo : 

On a long weekend towards the end of each January that number is augmented by several thousand when cricket teams from all over the country come to the town to compete in the Goldfield Ashes, the largest competition of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.

First held in1949, now over 200 sides take part.  Team names include A Fish called Wanda, Bigger than Jesus, Benaud’s Boys, Unbelievable and from the women’s team More Ass than Class.

Each team plays 3 matches and complicated rules are in place to effect a result even when the rain gods threaten.

The “A” Grade, which plays T20 Format is very competitive as are some of the other Leagues, which play over 50 over matches. But some sides are more laid back.  Though the organisers issue stern requests with lots of words for participants Not to take alcohol on to the field, especially if umpiring, in the lower leagues some have been playing with a beer bottle in one hand.

With over 70 grounds in play, from the main grounds to schools & private properties the playing conditions can be variable but it’s a good few days and Charters Towers welcomes the return of the bottom times, if only for the weekend.


To bring together from near and far fellow cricketers to participate with good sportsmanship and friendly rivalry in the King of Games.  They welcome you and ensure your stay is comfortable and enjoyable one.  The participants are encouraged to maintain the high reputation it now enjoys by conducting themselves with propriety at all times during the weekend.


The Carnival is going ahead at this stage in 2022. ( 2022 Competition video)


Friday 21st January, 2022

Saturday 22nd January, 2022

Sunday 23rd January, 2022

DRAW – once completed will be posted to the web page –

‘A’ GRADE – Nomination Fee $660-00 (including GST)

Competition will be 20Twenty competition

Teams may be required to play 2 games in a day

All games will be on turf wickets (weather permitting)

Players to include cricket spikes in playing kits

Prize money & trophies awarded in this division

‘B1’ GRADE – Nomination Fee $660-00 (including GST)

Competition will be 50 over a side games

Committee will reduce this to 35 overs if grounds become unavailable due to excess water on playing fields.

Trophies awarded in this division

‘B2’ GRADE – Nomination Fee $550-00 (including GST)

Not a competitive grade

Games are 35 overs per side

Trophies awarded in this division

‘SOCIAL’ GRADE – Nomination Fee $550-00 (including GST)

Not a competitive grade

Games are 35 overs per side

Trophies awarded in this division

‘LADIES’ GRADE – Nomination Fee $550-00 (including GST)

Competition is dependent on availability of fields

Games will be run as 20Twenty games (20 overs per side)

Ladies teams are reminded that they must fulfil all conditions which includes the provision of cricket equipment and umpires for each game.

Trophies awarded in this division


  •  SOCIAL Grade – LADIES) – 51 Teams 
  •  B1                                      – 21
  •  B2                                      – 125
  • A                                         –  5 teams




In front of Castle Ashby House

Caslte Ashby






Castle Ashby House

Cricket was first played at this lovely location in the late 19th century when the house took on the stables and estate workers. Those games remain today in the annual House vs Gardens XI match.

The once manor house grew in significance in the 14th century. Elizabeth I stayed there in 1600, and her successor James I in 1605. Although it is entitled to the formal name ‘castle’, it is more like a mansion. Since the mid-16th century, it has belonged to the family of the Marquess of Northampton, whose family name is Compton (no relation to the famous cricketing name).

A pavilion was constructed in 1904 and positioned so the then Earl couldn’t see it from his bedroom. In 1974 a more convenient and less architecturally impressive pavilion was built by members and financed by the 6th Marquess of Northampton.  The playing area includes an ash tree that sits adjacent to the playing area and awards a “ 6”  to a batsman who hits it on the full. The boundary was once the road which runs around the edge of the large field, however, much to older player’s delight, the boundary has been shortened with the use of markers. 

 The impressive and the most glamorous cricket pitch in the County, is home to the Castle Ashby House CC. Its backdrop is the Castle itself, and it is shielded from the winds by avenues of ancient oak trees on either side. The old pavilion is set back into the trees so it doesn’t impede the view of the Marquess when he looks out of his bedroom window in the morning. 


The grounds provided the venue for the Greenbelt christian music festival each year from 1984-92. Two open air concerts were given by Sir Elton John in the grounds in front of the house in July 2000.  Local amateur acting group Parish players, drawn from various people of nearby villages holds regular performances in the castle- a tradition carried on now for some years.


Castle Ashby is the ancestral home of the 7th Marquess of Northampton.

Wander through its gardens, open 365 days of the year, and you are taking a walk through history. Set in the heart of a 10,000-acre estate, the 35 acres of extensive gardens are a combination of several styles including the romantic Italian Gardens, the unique Orangery and impressive Arboretum.

The full Castle Ashby experience also involves a menagerie, children’s play area, plant centre, tea room and gift shop.

King William III visited in October 1695, and was very taken with the grounds, suggesting improvements to make it even more impressive, bringing the gardens into focus. The King suggested that four avenues of trees radiating out from the house would add to the formal impact. This suggestion was accepted, and the double avenues of Lime and Elm, accompanied by formal ponds, took 25 years to establish.

But it was during the later Victorian era that the gardens acquired many of the landmarks we enjoy today. The beautiful Orangery with its deep pool full of fish and tropical feel dates from this time. The Birmingham Houses were constructed, with their elegant spiral staircases. These are greenhouses where most of the bedding plants used in the gardens are grown. The other favourite structure is the round Fuchsia House, home to over 180 varieties in summer. This area of the Gardens is also home to the Rainbow border, the Secret Garden, the Butterfly Garden and the Walled Garden. In summer these areas are filled with beautiful fragrant and colourful annual planting. Take a step further down, and the woodland nature trail takes you towards some impressive ancient trees, and alongside waterways and bridges with natural planting, wildlife and aquatic birds. 

The gardens of Castle Ashby are a wonderful place to meet and picnic with your family and friends, as there’s lots to explore and discover, and even better, they are open 365 days a year! It is rated as one of the best places in the county for a game of hide and seek! 

Spring, summer and autumn are a riot of colour, as the gardens are well tended despite their large size. There’s even a menagerie with marmosets and meerkats, a sure-fire way to entertain visitors of all ages.  Dogs on leads are permitted, and there are places where a well-behaved canine is allowed off-lead. There’s a play area for children, an essential café, a plant centre and small souvenir shop, clean loos. 



Broadhalfpenny Down (pronounced brawd-HAYP-nee) is a beautiful cricket ground in Hampshire, opposite the Bat & Ball Inn.

​Cricket was played here from around 1750 and, over the next three decades, the players and patrons of Hambledon were responsible for the development of new techniques and the laws of cricket, from the addition of a third stump to the size of the bat. 

Their adaptations, and codification, of these laws, transformed cricket from an occasional country pastime to a national sport, which became an international sport in the following century.

This beautiful ground is situated in Hambledon, Hampshire, England.

The first proper county club in England, Hambledon CC, was formed in 1750, is described as “ the cradle of Cricket ”.

The Hambledon club had wealthy Hampshire patrons and the “Bat and Ball Inn” was a legendary post-match retreat.  The punch and ale were so strong that Richard Nyren, the landowner and Publican once said “ It would put the souls of 10 tinkers into the body of a tailor”.

In the Club’s early days a cricket bat was curved like a banana and the wickets consisted of two stumps.  When a Hambledon man made a good hit the spectators shouted in Hampshire style “ Go Hard! Titch and turn !”

In those days a lot of the game centred around betting and even the local Hambledon Vicar (priest) was known to have a flutter ( betting).

During the 1770s Hambledon had the best team in the country.  Legends suggest that in 1775 Hambledon made so many runs that an All-England team gave up in despair.  In 1778 Hambledon beat England by 3 wickets.  

Until 1781 Hambledon played at Broadhalfpenny Down between Winchester and Portsmouth.  In 1782 the Club moved to Windmill Downs because Broadhalfpenny had a pub opposite the ground.  The club had established and refined the “Laws of Cricket” including the introduction of a Third Stump but that role ended when the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) took over the governance of the sport, Cricket.

According to David Underdown in his book “Start of Play” Hambledon’s decline in the late 18th century was caused by the impact of war with France, the migration of aristocratic patrons from Hampshire to London and hardship in agriculture.  

The Club’s final meeting was in 1797 when the wistful last minutes read “No Gentlemen were present”.  This ground was used seldom in the early half 20th century.

In 1908 a match between Hambledon and All England XI took place and a grey granite obelisk was unveiled by Mr E.M.Sprot ( in the absence of W.G. Grace) to honour the club’s past achievements.

The Stones inscription reads: “ This stone marks the site of the ground of Hambledon Cricket club  Circ 1750-1787 “.

Kane Williamson,( current Captain of New Zealand) in front of the Inscription.  

After World War II the Royal Naval Signal School at HMS Mercury took over the lease of this club, and in 1958, some of the school’s officers founded Broadhalfpenny Brigands cricket club.

Since then the Brigands have used this cricket ground with the aim of promoting the continuation of cricket, played in a gentlemanly, sportsmanlike and friendly spirit on the historic ground at Broadhalfpenny Down.

In 1992, the Hambledon Cricket club records ( 1772 to 1796) went to the Hampshire county Record office for safekeeping.

The Broadhalfpenny Down Association (BHDA)was set in 1996 on the initiative of Winchester College, owners of the Freehold property and the BDP Brigands CC, lessees of BHD, to ensure the Long-term future of Broadhalfpenny Down, on which cricket continues to be played regularly for the enjoyment of players, spectators and the many who makes pilgrimages to the ground all over the world.    

At the site of the original Hambledon Club, found in about 1750, the Broadhalfpenny Down cricket ground has a very special place in Cricket history.  It was here the game “Cricket “ grew from an occasional country pastime to a properly organised National Sport.  It was the foundation from which Cricket was to become a sport in the second half of the 19th Century. 

The Broadhalfpenny Down Preservation Trust (BDPT) was incorporated in 2010 with the same objectives of BHDA and granted Charitable Trust in 2012.  

The upkeep of the ground is now looked after by the Broadhalfpenny Down Preservation Trust, a charity whose aims also include widening access to play on the ground including men, women, junior and disability cricket, as well as educating the public on the history of the ground and it’s importance in cricket.

A monument to the glory of cricket and the contribution to it made by The Hambledon Club was erected at the ground in 1908 made of Cornish granite.​

Patrons of the Preservation Trust include JRT Barclay DL, David English, David Gower OBE, The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH, Mark Nicholas, Barry Richards, Sir Tim Rice and Sir Garfield Sobers.

250 year anniversary of First Class cricket 

This year (2022 )marks the 250th Anniversary of the first recognised First-Class cricket match, which was played at Broadhalfpenny Down, Hambledon, Hampshire. 

It was a 2 day game on 24-25 June 1772 between a Hambledon XI, consisting of the finest players in Hampshire, against an All England XI consisting of the finest players from Surrey and Kent. The prize was 500 Guineas. ​

On 1 January 2022, a special New Year’s Day match took place where Hampshire Huskies, comprising local cricketers and cricketing journalists, defeated the Broadhalfpenny Brigands by 17 runs.​

More commemorative events are planned throughout the 2022 cricket season.

All Photos courtesy : Broadhalfpenny  



Bridgetown Cricket Ground, Somerset, ENGLAND.  Photo :

Flanked by River Exe and Exmoor National Park and set in a dale hemmed round by hills, this beautiful ground ( Bridgetown Cricket ground) is not short of recognition. 



Midwicket, Dulverton



TA22 9JN

 In 1912 Jonathan Rice included it or at least its pavilion ( above photo) in his “Pavilion book of  Pavilions”.  In 2002 it won Wisden’s Loveliest cricket ground Award and in 2008 it received the Daily Telegraph’s Willow Walks Award for Best Village ground.  In July 2013 Liz Barrett from BBC’s County file described it as “Quintessentially English, with spectacular views over Exmoor National Park and accessible by a wooden foot over bridge over the River Exe even comes complete with its very own thatched-roof pavilion.

Surprisingly all the above awards don’t merit much for this ground and their proudest moment was when they won the First title in the West Somerset League in 2014, its first title in 90 years of its existence.  By all accounts it was a close match.

The bulk of the ground maintenance is done by the secretary and the club members.  The old roof was replaced with a new one in 2016.

The pride of this club is Vic Marks who played for Somerset county and for England in Tests & ODIs played in this ground in his formative years.  He also worked as a journalist and wrote books on cricket.

As its League commitments, the club hosts touring sides from Australia and Canada.

Everard Estate, which owns this ground is having smooth relationship with the Club and Guy Thomas Everard is one of it’s vice presidents.

The ground is accessible from the A396 by a narrow foot bridge over a thin thread of River Exe.

Photo courtesy :

Then it’s a short walk to the pavilion with its thatched roof, oak panelling and rudimentary score board and other facilities.

The good news in this ground is the swallows and wrens still nest in the Pavilion and the sanitary facilities are awful.  The “dunny” at the back side is no bigger than a Buckingham Palace sentry box  and far less comfortable is still the only convenience.

There are no showers either , so some team members can always jump in the River Exe after a day’s play.

Bridgetown Cricket Club game to benefit CareMoor

Bridgetown cricket pavilion

CareMoor for Exmoor, the National Park’s Conservation and Access Fund, is set to benefit from the generosity of Bridgetown Cricket Club (Dulverton TA22 9JL_ which is allocating their match on Wednesday 27 July against the Mount Cricket Club as a fundraiser for CareMoor.

The initiative is in recognition of the recent Exmoor National Park Partnership Fund grant to the Bridgetown Club for re-thatching their pavilion. The Mount Cricket. Club has been coming to Exmoor and Bridgetown for 30 years.

Philip Kiberd, fundraising officer at the National Park says: “We are very grateful to Bridgetown Cricket Club for this initiative and we look forward to an interesting and sunny day. The new thatch on the pavilion looks great and if anyone would like to come along and watch the game they will be most welcome.”

Source : Exmoor National