The County Ground
is a cricket ground in Taunton
. It is the home of Somerset County Cricket Club, who have played there since 1882. The ground, which is located between Priory Bridge Road and St. James Street in Taunton has a capacity in excess of 6,500.The ground was originally built as part of a sports centre by Taunton Athletic Club in 1881, and became the home of the previously nomadic Somerset County Cricket Club soon after.
The ground ends are The River
End to the north and the Old Pavilion End to the south.Somerset played their first match of first-class cricket on the ground over 8–10 August 1882, beating Hampshire
County Cricket Club by five wickets. Later in the same month, the touring Australia
national cricket team played a match against Somerset, becoming the first international side to play at the ground.
The first international cricket to be played on the ground was during the 1983 Cricket World
Cup, for a group-stage match between England
and Sri Lanka
. The ground also hosted two group-stage matches during the 1999 Cricket World Cup. Since 1997, women's international cricket has been played at the ground, and in 2006 it became the home of the England women's cricket team.
Structure and facilities :
The pitch at the County Ground is surrounded by a number of stands and pavilions. The members' areas, situated at the River End of the ground consists of the Colin Atkinson Pavilion, the Sir Ian Botham Stand and the Marcus Trescothick stand. The non-members' areas, covering the rest of the ground consists of the front of main scoreboard stand, the Family Stand, St James Street Stand, Old Pavilion, Gimblett's Hill and the Somerset Stand.
The largest stand at the County Ground is the Somerset Stand, which was opened at the start of the 2009 season. The stand was built as the first stage of a ground development project, and can accommodate over 3,000 spectators.Behind the Somerset Stand is the Pegasus Court development, containing 65 luxury retirement apartments overlooking the cricket ground.The Old Pavilion is located at the southern end of the ground, and has a small number of seats on its upper tier.
On the ground floor, it houses a bar and restaurant. Between the Old Pavilion and the Somerset Stand is Gimblett's Hill, an area that backs onto the churchyard of St. James Church. This section of the ground has a small number of wooden benches at ground-level. To the east of the Old Pavilion is St James Street Stand, a covered section of the ground with a shallow incline.
The eastern side of the ground holds both the Family Stand and the front of main scoreboard stand. Between the two are the Ondaatje Pavilion and the Andy Caddick pavilion, the newest of the pavilions on the ground, and the one currently that currently houses the team's changing room facilities. To the north of the front of main scoreboard stand is the Colin Atkinson Pavilion.
A member's area, this has a small number of seats and accommodates the member's bar and restaurant. The second tier, formerly the player's changing rooms, has been converted into a Long Room which seats over 180 spectators.The Sir Ian Botham Stand is at the northern end of the ground, and provides covered member's seating. To the west of this is the Marcus Trescothick Stand, which was opened in June 2008.
Scoreboards are located in the north-east and south-west of the ground, and in addition to the restaurant facilities in the Old Pavilion and the Colin Atkinson Pavilion, food outlets are also located in the Somerset Stand, the Sir Ian Botham Stand and the front of the main scoreboard.