Sophia Gardens to host Ashes Test
Sophia Gardens, the main ground in Wales, has been chosen to host a Test for the 2009 Ashes. This is surprising for a number of reasons, mostly the ground's leap-frogging of more established grounds (Rosebowl, Hampshire) and the ousting of Old Trafford and Trent Bridge. Very, very interesting development.
On the one hand, it demonstrates the ECB aren't forgetting the smaller grounds. It shows that money is reaching these grounds and being used for development purposes. However, it's a bizarre and confusing decision to simply drop two of the oldest Test grounds in Britain - two which provide the north of the country much-desired Test cricket. It's widely felt that the south dominates the ECB's decisions - Lord's and the Oval aren't so much hated by northern clubs, but despised for their "show pony" status - and today's decision does nothing to help matters.
Meanwhile, Chester-le-Street (or the "Riverside") also miss out. They, like Glamorgan, were in the running for an Ashes Test in 2009 but instead have been awarded the rather less exciting prospect of hosting the West Indies next year.
The decision to dump Old Trafford and Trent Bridge still flumoxes me. Why was this decision made? What have the two grounds done wrong and how can the ECB justify it?
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Trent Bridge was due to miss out anyway, I think. But the point still stands, I guess. It's a shame the Riverside didn't get a look in, since it would mean that all us poor sods north of the border could get to a Test without having to shell out a fortune :(
Posted by: Jess | 21 Apr 2006 09:03:34
Venues like Sofia Gardens, the Rose Bowl and the Riverside are striving to better the current Test grounds, and we're probably now at the maximum number of Tests in a Summer, unless we scrap the ODIs. The maths is pretty straightforward, not all the grounds can have Tests, and Old Trafford is a dump in all honesty. Headingley has, I gather, made a lot of improvements, hopefully OT will do the same. Trent Bridge is a small-ish ground, and although I like it there it's fair to say that Durham, Wales and Hampshire have as good a claim. Whether we need three Tests a year in London is another matter, however.
Posted by: Chris Weston | 22 Apr 2006 09:44:05
From what I understand Old Trafford has been out of favour for a while, due to poor facilities and low attendances.
What is shocking, though, is that Cardiff waltzes in straight away for an Ashes Test, when the Riverside is stuck with crap Tests like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh to "prove itself". Surely Cardiff should have to go through a similar process too?
For anyone who says the North-East isn't interested in cricket, they are lying. The amount of club cricket played in the North-East is massive; there are all number of cup competitions to keep you playing through the week. The only reason that they haven't had larger attendances at Durham is because NO-ONE, ANYWHERE wants to watch Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. We're not fooled by the mere appellation of Test to the game.
Posted by: Ken | 24 Apr 2006 00:23:56
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