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Ground Guide by Cricket Tripper
In its home of Birmingham, the Edgbaston Cricket Ground is also known as County Ground or Edgbaston Stadium. It is the home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club as well as Birmingham Phoenix – the men’s team in The Hundred competition from 2020. With this cricket ground hosting more T20 Final Days than any other cricket ground, it is suitably also the playing ground of T20 team, Birmingham Bears. Despite being a venue for Test matches, one-day internationals and T20 internationals, this cricket ground’s most prominent achievement is its title of being the only other cricket ground outside Lord’s, to host a major international one-day tournament final. This title was only achieved in 2013 with the ICC Champions Trophy final. Edgbaston Cricket Ground takes fourth place in the size ‘competition’ between English cricket stadiums; seating 25,000 but behind Lord’s, Old Trafford and The Oval.
Cricket on this ground began in 1885 when Warwickshire County Cricket Club leased the land for £5 per acre over a 21-year contract. The land was on the banks of the River Rea – and undeveloped meadow that required draining and enclosing finished off with the building of a wooden pavilion. The first match was in 1886 against Marylebone Cricket Club and watched by 3,000 spectators over the 2 days. When Warwickshire played Australia later that year, the number of spectators doubled to 6,000. The first Test match at Edgbaston then occurred in 1902, when England played Australia in The Ashes. This event prompted £1,500 worth of developments in the months before the event took place, including a permanent stand, two temporary stands and facilities for 90 members of the press. Despite this, Warwickshire County Cricket Club’s share of the tour funds were only £750.
After the Second World War began a series of redevelopments. These included the Rea Bank, Thwaite Memorial Scoreboard (in 1950), the Indoor Cricket School and Pavilion Suite – the latter two built-in 1956. With the William Ansell Stand opening in 1967, it was thought that the Edgbaston Cricket Stadium facilities were equal to those at Lord’s. Executive boxes were added much later in 1989 to the Priory and Raglan Stands, as well as the Stanley Barnes Stand construction expanding the capacity to 17,500.
Edgbaston Cricket Ground has been keeping up with the times throughout the technological advancements of the 20th Century. In July 1997, Edgbaston Cricket Ground became the first stadium to host a senior game under floodlights, showing its technological advancement was with the times. This was the game between Warwickshire and Somerset. Furthermore, in the years running up to 2000, the Edgbaston Cricket Ground was known for its distinctive motorised rain cover system known as the Brumbrella – only to be removed due to criticism of the flat cover ‘sweating’ and the legislation that came in in 2001 that banned such covers.
The Edgbaston Cricket Ground is considered one of England’s leading cricket grounds, said to be only second to Lord’s. Its reputation comes from the atmosphere and noise created by the spectators – hence it is seen as the most hostile cricket stadium in England for visiting teams.
Visiting the Ground - Travel
You’ll find this ground just south of the Birmingham City Center in the midlands of England.
For the Satnav put in B5 7QU. However, the official Edgbaston website advises people to leave their cars at home and make use of the great public transport available. There aren’t many car parks near the stadium but are dozens a bit further north in the City Center. If you fancy the walk then you could park up and spend about 30 minutes walking to the ground from the city centre, or make use of public transport.
Train - Public Transport
There are several train stations in Birmingham but the nearest ones are around 30 minutes from the ground. There is University, Five Ways, Birmingham New Street and Birmingham Moor Street. The station you travel to will depend on where you are travelling from but all have bus stops/ taxi ranks around them making it easy to get to the stadium after you disembark.
Airports and Flying
Birmingham has it’s very own airport to the East aptly named Birmingham Airport. it will only take you about 25 minutes in a car to get to the ground, making it ideal if you want to come for the day. If you want to use public transport it will take you around 50 minutes, which is still pretty good airport to ground timing.