Almanac Cricket: Citrus Bob’s favourite cricket grounds

MY FAVOURITE GROUNDS

 

With a lull in the Test matches and the survival of England as a cricketing nation I thought a look at what have been my favourite grounds over the years of witnessing cricket.

 

(In Order)

1.     Galle International (1876) set in an absolute idyllic centre and surrounded on two sides by the Indian Ocean and The Fort.  What better scenic beauty could one get than watching a game at this ground and see the saffron robed monks watching from atop the fort.

 

 

2.     Manuka Oval (1929) only had the one Test match but my idea of real cricket ground with minimal stands a view of the city grassed areas and hills in the background. The fact you can walk around the ground is also a plus and the Jack Fingleton scoreboard.

 

 

3.     Adelaide Oval (1871) Regarded by many as the most beautiful in Australia.  Recent development has seen the view of the Adelaide Hill disappear but St. Peters and the Moreton Bay Figs still dominate. Nearly always get a result and a short walk from Adelaide CBD.

 

 

4.     Lords’  The home of cricket has hardly changed (on field) since  1814  .  The new stands don’t compliment the members Pavilion but still a great blending of the new and old.  Reeks of history.

 

 

5.     Bellerive Oval (1914)  A picturesque ground overlooking the harbour in Hobart. One of the few grounds where the commentators can wax lyrical about yachts sailing by. I look forward to the first Ashes Test to be played there in a couple of weeks.  A big crowd could assure the future as Test venue.

 

 

 

6.     The Basin Wellington (1873)  The only cricket ground in New Zealand to have Historic Place status. Probably hasn’t changed that much over the years but still a wonderful place to watch a cricket

 

 

7.     The WACA (1893)  sadly no longer used as a Test Cricket ground but just being there when fast bowlers come charging in is excitement personified.  Then if it gets too hot ‘The Fremantle Doctor’ come visiting late in the afternoon

 

 

8.     Sydney Cricket Ground (1878) and the ‘G'(1853) Historically the most famous of Australian grounds but have long passed into the realms of “has beens” although the SCG will retain the historic Grandstands.  The ‘G’ is unfortunately now a concrete jungle. Love to go there but the nostalgia is gone.

 

 

9.     Broadhalfpenny Downs (1772)  the cradle of cricket where the first first-class match was played.  The 250 year celebrations of that game will take place on New Year’s Day 2022 and further celebrations from there.

 

 

You can read more from Citrus Bob Utber Here.

 

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About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.

Comments

  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    What about Bob Neil No1 across King William Rd?

  2. SWISH – I had it on my extended list but had discussions with my Sri Lankan friend Marvin Vaas who thought that not many Sri Lankans had played on the Bob Neil number one so by process it should be eliminated and it was

  3. Before we go too far I have not been to the Newlands Ground in Cape Town but the backdrop of Table Mountain is very picturesque. Only been there with a football team.

  4. Grand list CB. Have been to Adelaide Oval; WACA; SCG: Manuka and Lords (once in members – a long story but Harms says its reserved for Long Bombs to Snake Edition 2). Adelaide Oval before the redevelopment my favourite as a cricket ground (now much more a stadium). The view across to the hills was majestic before the Wangaiuto monstrosity intruded.
    Love the picturesque grounds with a view. Memories of one in Mosman with sublime Sydney Harbour vista.
    And the country tracks without a blade of grass. Sunbury, Brentwood and Honiton in Southern Yorke Peninsula stand out from adolescence.
    No diving in the outfield with limestone outcrops. “Get behind the ball” and hope it bounced forward off your legs/arms/chest (or face if you got a really bad bounce). Character building.
    Honiton was the quirkiest ground I ever played on. Sloped steeply down towards salt lake (Lake Fowler) and the boundary fence was barley paddocks. If the ball got past you – had to have a firm fix on the entry point into waist deep barley. A gathering of fielders to tramp down the stalks in hope of treading on the missing ball was strongly discouraged by the batting side (barley farmers).
    Disappointed that Lake Cullulleraine didn’t make your list. Millewa Cricket Ground is the premier MCG.

  5. Great stuff and fantastic photos CB – been to Ad Oval,SCG,Bellerive and the WACA ( last 2 to have a look not when games were on ) interestingly,PJ Flynn has Galle right up there as well,most picturesque oval I have seen is Dudley United ground at Penneshaw on KI

  6. PB yes there are wonderful grounds around the countryside probably none better than the B Oval in Bowral but they have money to burn There!
    BOOK Didnt realise PJ Flynn had been to Galle. Probably got lost in the betting shop.. That Karen Rolton Oval looks great also.

  7. Luke Reynolds says

    Fantastic list CB. Galle definitely on my bucket list.

    I’ve been to Bellerive Oval a couple of times and absolutely love watching cricket there, a truly beautiful venue. But I often wonder about it’s future, being so far out of the city and in a suburban area. Would Hobart be better served by a venue within walking distance to the city? I’ve often wondered why Bellerive became the main cricket venue and not the TCA Ground.

    Of course you need to check out the Pomborneit Recreation Reserve in your travels one day too!

  8. LR – Would love to include Pomborneit RR in my proposed tour of cricket grounds around Australia with Les Everritt. Galle is magic but I haven’t worked out how to fish standing on a pole!
    Another favourite is the Bill O’Reilly Oval at White Hills.
    Enjoy the cricket

  9. LUKE – I think the AFL had a bit to do with the location at Bellerive.
    PRR is definitely on my proposed tour of elite cricket grounds.

  10. John Unkles says

    Citrus Bob. Most enjoyable coffee with you this morning in Maling Road. Hope we can do it again. Your ranking is interesting from a viewing point of view but for sheer history of cricket, football (the proper AFL stuff), Olympic, Commonwealth Games, Papal visits, concerts etc you cannot go past the mighty Gee.

  11. 1 Galle
    2 AO
    3 Lord’s
    .
    .
    .
    30 MCG

    Cheers,

    Marvin PJ Vaas

  12. Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamshala. Not been there but would love to.

  13. JU – welcome John. Can’t disagree with you in regard to historical stuff. The biggest baseball crowd ever at the G (1956), my conversion to cricket by Bily Graham, 2007,9,11 – Cats on top but for pure aesthetics, Galle is top of the tree. Marvin Vaas and I will probably organize a tour of Sri Lanka this year such as our love for that ground and the train trip to Kandy. Coffee in MalingRoad is a must.
    MARVIN – as usual showing your bias. What ground is number 29 in your book?
    MICKEY R – Dharamshala is a wonderful venue too. Love to include in Marvin and Citrus Magical Mystery Tour of Sub-Continent Cricket Grounds. Stay in touch

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