Edgbaston Cricket Ground is one of the world’s most famous cricket grounds, having hosted numerous international Test matches over the years. It is one of the UK’s premier cricket grounds and the 4th largest the nation has; behind Old Trafford, the Oval and, of course, Lord’s. It attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators to Birmingham each and every year and we are proud to call Birmingham home alongside this grand institute. Let’s take a look at where it all began.
Built on a grand vision
Some of the UK’s most famous sporting landmarks became famous over time gradually, or more by chance than planning. Such as Wimbledon, which was initially a croquet club. However, this is not the case with the Edgbaston Cricket Ground. From the outset, the developers had plans for Edgbaston to earn Test status and bring added class to the area.
The land on which the ground was built was owned by Calthorpe Estate. The Warwickshire County Cricket Club, who were responsible for choosing the land for their new ground, chose this area due to the railway transport links. They leased a 12 acre plot of land for £5 per acre over a 21 year period.
Calthorpe Estates had a lot to gain from this deal as the land itself was rather unattractive compared to surrounding areas. And they had already spent decades building upper class housing and trying to make the area more prestigious. Little did they know how popular the ground would soon become.
The deal was signed in 1855 and the Edgbaston Cricket Ground first opened its gates to spectators on 7th June 1856. This inaugural match took place against the Marylebone Cricket Club. A total of 3,000 people turned up to watch over the course of 2 days.
Becoming globally recognised
Though the club started out well, it wouldn't be until 1902 that they hosted their first ever Test match. This gave them cause to expand upon the facilities. They erected two temporary stands as well as one permanent one. They also upgraded facilities to allow for 90 members of the press to attend and report on the action.
The ground continued to garner high profile matches throughout the 19th century. Finally, in 1950, they decided to upgrade the facilities once again. Most notably, they built the Thwaite Memorial Scoreboard and Rea Bank. In 1956, they then finalised construction on an indoor cricket centre as well as the Pavilion Suite.
The WIlliam Ansell Stand was unveiled in 1967. By now, the facilities on offer at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground were considered by many to be even more superior than Lord’s. In fact, it is still considered today to be the UK’s second-most premier cricket ground, second only to Lord’s, despite being the 4th largest.
The most recent changes made at Edgbaston was the massive £32 million overhaul that took place in 2010/2011. This drastically modernised the entire ground and allowed for a further 7,500 spectators. Bringing maximum capacity up to 25,000.
Some memorable moments at Edgbaston
The Edgbaston Cricket Club has played host to some incredibly memorable events over the years, including:
- England’s highest ever partnership score. Colin Cowdrey and Peter May scored 411 back in 1957.
- The England Women’s Cricket Team won the first ever Women’s World Cup there in 1973. They beat Australia by 92 runs.
- Ian Botham took 5 wickets in 28 balls against Australia in the 1981 Ashes. This put the England side 2-1 up and Botham credits the energy and enthusiasm of the crowd as the reason for their win.
- When playing for Warwickshire against Durham in 1994, Brian Lara scored a record-breaking 501. This was the highest first class cricket score by a batsman.
- In 2004, when playing against the West Indies, Marcus Trescothick made history when he became the first man to ever score a century in both innings of a Test match at Edgbaston. He scored 105 and 107.
- In 2005, in the second Test of the Ashes, England narrowly beat Australia by 2 runs. This marked the closest Ashes match ever played.
- At Edgbaston in 2011, Alastair scored an incredible 294 against India. England as a whole also scored 710 for 7 in a Test match here in the same year, making this the highest innings score ever performed at Edgbaston. It was this year that they also became ranked as the number one Test team in the world.
- In 2014, the Birmingham Bears were crowned champions on their own home ground in the NatWest t20 Blast Finals Day. This was the 6th time it had been hosted at Edgbaston and the first time the team had earned this accolade at their home ground.
- In 2015, England once again made history here when they scored 408 against New Zealand in a One Day International 50 overs match. This was their largest margin of victory ever, with 210 runs. It was also their highest ever score in such a match.
The future is bright!
It seems that, in recent years, the number of accolades and records being broken at Edgbaston only seems to be increasing. It has played host to some of cricket’s most memorable matches and will hopefully continue to do so for years to come. In 2018 alone they have already hosted the International T20 against Australia back in June.
In August they host the first in a 5 match Test series against India. Then, in September, they host the T20 Finals Day. Be sure to stay tuned and if you’re inspired by the action at this memorable ground, why not host your own competition this summer? We have a whole range of great quality Cricket trophies on offer. Just click here to discover more.