TAUNTON: GROUND & SPECTATOR GUIDE

Built: 1881

The County Ground in Taunton will host three games during the 2019 World Cup.

Afghanistan will face New Zealand, before Pakistan take on Australia and the West Indies play Bangladesh at the smallest of the 11 venues being used for this summer’s tournament.

HISTORY

As quintessentially English a venue as one could wish to find, it is hard to dispute that the character of this global tournament will benefit from a trip to the West Country.

There are few grounds that, in an era of redevelopment and expansion, have been able to remain so close to their roots.

In the case of Somerset’s County Ground, these foundations go back some way; the county first played at the venue in 1882. Three churches overlook the historic arena.

It is a ground that has housed some of the game’s all-time greats; Sir Ian Botham, Sir Viv Richards, Joel Garner, Steve Waugh and Martin Crowe have all plied their trade at the County Ground – not to mention the club’s favourite son. Marcus Trescothick is in his 27th season with the club and has a stand named in his honour.

Somerset, though, have only ever hosted three men’s ODIs, and none since the 1999 World Cup. Last time the competition came to these shores, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly shared a second-wicket partnership of 318 against Sri Lanka, with Ganguly making 183.

Since then, men’s international cricket has only ventured to Taunton once, with England losing by three runs to South Africa in a T20 international.

However, the ground has become the official home of English women’s cricket, with the venue hosting this summer’s Women’s Ashes Test.

Along with both Melbourne and Karachi, Taunton is the only ground to be the scene of two quadruple centuries.

Saurav Ganguly in action at Taunton in the 1999 World Cup

FAMOUS MOMENT

On a curious evening in June 2006, two knights of the realm collided at Taunton.

As Sir Elton John performed in an open-air concert to an audience of 23,000 at the County Ground, he paused to serenade Sir Ian Botham – an icon of the old stadium.

Sir Ian Botham - one of Taunton's favourite sons

HOW TO GET THERE

Full address: County Ground Taunton, St James Street, Taunton, TA1 1JT

By car: There will be no official on-site parking at Taunton during the World Cup. However, there are two main park-and-ride services in the town; Taunton Gateway Park & Ride (TA3 5LU) and Silk Mills Park & Ride (TA1 5AA).

The pair have more than 1,500 spaces between them, and are located near the town centre.

Uber does not currently operate in Taunton.

By train: Great Western Railway runs through Taunton Station, with links to Bristol, London and Cardiff, and many other destinations.

CrossCountry Trains also operates services, including to both Birmingham and Newcastle.

Taunton Station is expected to be under some construction during the tournament, however. It is suggested that passengers check early to avoid disruption.

GROUND RECORDS

Highest ODI score: 373/6 (India vs Sri Lanka, 1999)

Lowest ODI score: 216/10 (Sri Lanka vs India, 1999)

PLAYING CONDITIONS

With a fast and hard track and meagre boundaries at every angle, Taunton is designed for high scores. Spinners can get plenty of joy, however, on a turning strip which has been nicknamed Ciderabad by the locals.

WHERE TO EAT

The Ring of Bells

Located less than a minute away from the County Ground, this country-style pub sits right in the centre of Taunton, serving traditional English cuisine (£15-20 per head for two courses)

16-17 St James St, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 1JS

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Howards Fish and Chips

Always busy when the weather plays ball, this chippy is ideal for a quick bite of terrific Somerset fare (£6.50 per head for fish and chips)

5 St. James Street, Taunton TA1 1JH England

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The Stragglers

Situated on the ground floor of the County Ground pavilion, this coffee house is open seven days a week and to the general public on non-matchdays, serving an array of sandwiches and traditional British lunch options (£6-15 per head for one course)

Somerset County Cricket Club, The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 1JT

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Eat the Bird

It’s a menu of chicken burgers. What is not to like?

Coal Orchard, Taunton TA1 1AE

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The Wickets

Sitting on a street corner, this fabulous little sandwich bar is a huge hit with the locals for its range of options – ideal for a quick lunch

51A St. James Street, Taunton TA1 1JH, England

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Taunton Town Centre - The ground is a short walk from the centre of Taunton, where you will find a range of options –Nandos and Pizza Express among many others.

WHAT TO DO NEARBY

Sheppy’s House of Cider

You can’t visit Somerset and not experience its cider. At Sheppy’s – a 15-minute drive from the town centre, you will find a shop where you can taste a range of the county’s finest, as well as tours of the facility, which also includes a museum and an orchard.

Three Bridges, Bradford-on-Tone, Taunton, Somerset. TA4 1ER

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Hestercombe House and Gardens

The stately home is worth a visit, featuring rooms open to the public, an art gallery and a restaurant.

Hestercombe Gardens, Cheddon Fitzpaine, Taunton, Somerset, TA2 8LG

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Somerset Cricket Museum

If you’re there for the cricket, you may as well visit the museum! Based in a sixteenth-century priory barn, it’s full of Somerset memorabilia and features an entire wall dedicated to the England women’s team.

7 Priory Avenue, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 1XX

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WHERE TO DRINK

The Hideout

Situated on the historic Castle Green, The Hideout combines good food with a range of ales, lagers and cocktails

Castle Green, Taunton, TA1 4AE

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The World’s End

A ten-minute drive from pub to ground, The World’s End is the typical country pub, complete with a wooden interior and large beer garden

Bradford-On-Tone, Taunton, SomersetTA4 1ET

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The Plough Inn

A town pub with a rustic feel, the bar takes pride in its array of ales and gins

75 Station Road, Taunton, TA1 1PB

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The Ring of Bells

As well as its food, it’s hard to beat The Ring of Bells for its selection of local beer

16-17 St James St, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 1JS

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Brazz

Far more than a bar, given its highly-regarded breakfasts and good value dinner menu, but a modern and atmospheric venue for an evening drink with an extensive selection of alcohol

Castle Bow, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 1NF

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WHAT TO DO NEARBY

Museum of Somerset

For lovers of British history, there can surely be few more intriguing places. Housed within Taunton Castle, the museum is a shrine to Somerset’s history, with a selection of coins dating back to the Roman era.

Taunton Castle, Castle Green, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 4AA

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Stonehenge

It’s not as local as the other options – about an hour and a half from the ground by car, but Stonehenge remains one of Britain’s most famous landmarks. Worth a visit while you’re in the area.

Near Amesbury, Wiltshire, SP4 7DE

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Somerfest

On June 15, the annual Somerfest returns. A one-day festival of the outdoors – sport, food, drink, arts, music, dance and more – it is not a day to miss if you’re in the area.

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BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW...

Between 1961 and 1979, the County Ground hosted greyhound racing, with a track constructed around the perimeter of the pitch.

VENUE GUIDES

TEAM GUIDES

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