Wednesday, 26 April 2017

A real gem of a ground

As you will all be aware by now I am a cricket purist, who borders on the edge of being the ultimate cricket tragic.

My love of 'proper' cricket pavilions is legendary ( nearly as legendary as my love of  proper cricket jumpers), a proper wooden building ( even if it is only cladding) is my absolute love. Northlands Road, Southampton being the object of my greatest admiration even though it is long gone.

Having spent many, many seasons at the mismatched, glass and chrome, ground that is The Riverside at Chester le Street, I still do not have any love for the Architects idea of a cricket oval ( obviously they had not been to many).
The inclusion of the 'blue seats' from the 2012 Olympic beach volleyball competition, added another mismatched string to the untidy bow.

I dismissed these new fangled, architectural monstrosities, until last weekend.

Walking up the slight incline from my hotel to the ground, the first thing that I noticed was the white  tented 'turrets; of the main  members pavilion  ( Rod Bransgrove Pavilion).
I went into the ground  and headed to the Arlott Atrium, a wonderful 'outside' inside experience which links in with the members areas.

Walking abound the ground it was interesting to see the food kiosks that they had incorporated into the buildings.
The Indian cuisine at Sanjha ( with restaurants around the area) was wonderful and the staff were brilliant helping to get me something totally vegan.

All of this was  designed to make this ground multi functional ( rock concerts etc)., as well as substantially disabled friendly. ( something the Riverside is still to sort with areas still  gravel/shingle, making wheelchair/walker uses struggle a little)

At  the opposite end to the pavilion is the Hilton hotel with its rooms with balconies that face out on to the ground. Having also eaten in this hotel, I have to say the layout was well thought out and the food was lovely too.

Every one of these rooms were in use with most people watching from their balconies.

Members only areas gave (obviously) great views of the game and the staff at the bars were efficient and very friendly.

With the exception of nearly having a heart attack when told that 2 glasses of wine would be £20 I  have no gripe over the catering facilities, which are well thought out to suit all.

There is glass and chrome in this ground, it is the modern version of a cricket stadium, but the overall feel is of an amphitheatre gives this ground the edge over new designs.

As you can tell I am more than a little in love with The Rose Bowl ( as it was originally known) .
I am already planning another visit!.

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