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A Little Meditation
Posted by: Loyal of Lhasa (IP Logged)
Date: 25 August, 2020 15:25

I am feeling very mellow and content after our glorious victory earlier this afternoon - and how I would have loved to be at the County Ground today. That thought prompted me to post below a little essay excavated by chance only yesterday that I wrote for his site back in January 2008, when there had been talk of abandoning the ground and moving to an out-of-town site. How awful that would have been!

Apologies to those of you who have seen this before.

In my long-addicted life of Somerset cricket watching almost the whole of the County Ground has now changed, but somehow the very special ambience has hardly altered at all. Certainly the sheer joy and sense of privilege of being within those hallowed acres has not diminished by a jot as far as I am concerned. The old pavilion was a nice example of classic Victorian railway station architecture, but not an especially beautiful building, probably far from "fit for purpose" and almost certainly a serious fire hazard. Who now remembers with affection those actually rather ugly white boards that lined the north and east of the ground, with the backless unyielding wooden benches and the old scoreboard in the corner? The Ridley Stand would have won no architectural awards and the Supporters' Stand (River Stand to newcomers) was no more than functional. I am sad about the demise of the Stragglers' Pavilion and wish more effort had been made to preserve it, but am confident that Gimblett Hill will become a distinguished and much loved feature.

What makes the ground so very special for me are the surroundings, notably the church towers (reminding us we are sited in the heart of a classic English county town) and the Quantock Hills (reminding us that ours is a truly rural county), the intimacy that brings players and spectators so close and encourages such a warm rapport between them (and the players to remember their responsibility to perform whole-heartedly for the sake of those who watch and support them), and the wonderful warmth of the Somerset people. As long as these qualities are not lost, the ground will remain a very special place. And I suspect there are few of us who would prefer a soulless stadium beside the M5. The new Brewhouse stand will probably soon be seen as a thing of beauty and will command much affection, and I have now decided that when my six numbers come up tonight I will buy three adjacent flats and recreate the Stragglers' there, with a flagpole and cider stand for Tractor, a padded cell for BJ and a welcome for you all.


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LoL

Seventy-two Seasons a Somerset Supporter

Re: A Little Meditation
Posted by: Farmer White (IP Logged)
Date: 25 August, 2020 15:34

That just about nails it.

I remember Guy Lavender once saying that staying at the County Ground was the best decision Somerset ever made. I am not sure he was thinking along the lines your piece does LoL From recollection, I think he had in mind, centre of town, heart of the community and, in accessibilty terms, near a mainline railway station. Put that together with the ambience you describe and you can't really beat it.

Farmer

Re: A Little Meditation
Posted by: AGod (IP Logged)
Date: 25 August, 2020 15:36

I read, the other day, that there used to be a greyhound track running around the outside of the outfield?

Re: A Little Meditation
Posted by: Grizzers (IP Logged)
Date: 25 August, 2020 15:41

An eloquent and atmospheric piece of prose LoL.

Compare & contrast the delights of the County Ground with what would likely have happened if we had moved to a new ground adjacent to the M5.

The utterly soulless Ageas Bowl comes to mind, albeit I don't know why, as clearly no-one thought of transport links when it was planned. At it's very best, on a beautiful summers day, the place has all the merits of ten miles of unmade road.

I know which I prefer !

Grizzers

Re: A Little Meditation
Posted by: Farmer White (IP Logged)
Date: 25 August, 2020 15:43

Indeed there did. It ran just outside the boundary with lighting on poles. I remember it well. The pens for the dogs were in what is now the St James St car park.

It was one of a number of ventures to bolster club income. Another in the late 60s was a £1 membership. Yes, £1. Admin was kept to a minimum I think by simply selling the cards like a ticket and keeping no records of £1 members. It is when Vice Presidents were introduced to differntiate people who paid more and had access to the better seating and Pavilion etc. £1 membership was for ground entry only. If my creaking memory is correct. If it is not, someone will put me right.

Farmer

Re: A Little Meditation
Posted by: Roger ivanhoe (IP Logged)
Date: 25 August, 2020 16:32

AGOD Here are Photos and a write up on the Greyhound track on the County Ground.

See this link

Re: A Little Meditation
Posted by: Bobstan (IP Logged)
Date: 25 August, 2020 16:37

Loyal of Lhasa, that was a very evocative piece. Thank you.

I suppose to maintain tradition I should have said that it was almost literate, but on this occasion the thought didn't even cross my mind.

Re: A Little Meditation
Posted by: AGod (IP Logged)
Date: 25 August, 2020 16:37

Thanks, Roger.

Re: A Little Meditation
Posted by: Loyal of Lhasa (IP Logged)
Date: 25 August, 2020 16:44

Another venture in the Fifties was a football pools competition, to which I occasionally contributed. I think it was run by the Supporters Club and that it funded the Supporters; Stand at the River End on the site of the Lord High Almighty Emperor Plenipotentiary Botham Stand.



LoL

Seventy-two Seasons a Somerset Supporter

Re: A Little Meditation
Posted by: Shepton Paul 2 (IP Logged)
Date: 25 August, 2020 18:22

I love the ground but, having lived in Berkshire for 35 years, get there all too rarely. However, I have a small regret that Avalon Acres never came to pass, in that I'm about to move to the Wells area - possibly before the end of this late-running season...

Re: A Little Meditation
Posted by: Owain Glyndwr (IP Logged)
Date: 25 August, 2020 18:56

Beautifully written, as always, just a shame you couldn't have sorted out that cell for me. Would have saved a fortune on rent.

Re: A Little Meditation
Posted by: Whome (IP Logged)
Date: 25 August, 2020 18:58

The clock housed in the Colin Atkinson pavilion was once located in the old scoreboard in the North East corner.

Re: A Little Meditation
Posted by: RadstockRob (IP Logged)
Date: 25 August, 2020 21:27

Vice presidents were allowed to take a guest into the ground for free.

That was how I started watching while a young lad.

One of my neighbours used to take me.



SOMERSET THE TEAM TO WATCH.

Re: A Little Meditation
Posted by: mikeindex (IP Logged)
Date: 25 August, 2020 22:45

I remember the £1 membership deal - I had an idea it still carried certain restricted seating rights, but I was still eligible for junior membership at the time (I guess that must have been about half a crown) so I may not be remembering too clearly. I remember the dog track too, and sitting on the old backless benches by the sight screen at the River End.
Lovely bit of writing LoL.

Re: A Little Meditation
Posted by: Des Platt (IP Logged)
Date: 26 August, 2020 01:54

I’ve said on here before how I envy those of you able to watch cricket at Taunton regularly. Thanks very much for this



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 26/08/2020 01:55 by Des Platt.

Re: A Little Meditation
Posted by: Loyal of Lhasa (IP Logged)
Date: 26 August, 2020 10:56

Des, I shall buy a fourth flat for your exclusive use, as clearly your heart is really in Somerset.



LoL

Seventy-two Seasons a Somerset Supporter

Re: A Little Meditation
Posted by: Wickham (IP Logged)
Date: 26 August, 2020 17:05

... to be known as the Platt Flat, presumably.

Re: A Little Meditation
Posted by: Loyal of Lhasa (IP Logged)
Date: 26 August, 2020 17:55

... or the Des Res.



LoL

Seventy-two Seasons a Somerset Supporter

Re: A Little Meditation
Posted by: Des Platt (IP Logged)
Date: 26 August, 2020 18:18

😀

Re: A Little Meditation
Posted by: Bobstan (IP Logged)
Date: 26 August, 2020 18:20

Will Des need any flat packs for his Platt Flat?

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