What defines an idyllic British village? Well, with a book entitled “Remarkable Village Cricket Grounds”, I think it’s clear where Brian Levison’s loyalties lie!
Yes, it’s not a welcoming pub, an ancient church or a village hall — it’s a traditional cricket field that is an absolutely key part of the equation.
I grew up with a dad who was part of the village cricket team. I’ve no idea what position he played, though; there was something so relaxing about cricket matches that I usually fell asleep for the duration.
It was so peaceful, the orderly commotion of folk running around in whites and the satisfying thwack of bat and ball. I was fairly confident that about half the other spectators were similarly asleep, but dad was having a good time.
Great for any ardent fan of the sport
Anyway, if you know anyone who is an ardent fan of the sport, this book could be just the gift for them. Roaming around the country, Brian takes in some of the most scenic fields in the British Isles, whether under stern Cumbrian hills or nestled in the Home Counties.
My personal favourite is Bridgetown in Somerset. You have to cross a narrow footbridge to get it, over a tree-lined river into a slightly curved pitch below heavy-hedged fields. The pavilion is a timber building with a thatched roof, and the grass is kept in a trim with a mower from 1956. And the one in Devon’s Valley of the Rocks is just stunning.
The venues are often much in demand from foreign teams wishing to play in such historic environments, and Brian explains so much of the character of the of each spot that you feel you want to visit. If for nothing else but the cream teas that seem as much a part of a match as the rest of it.
A totally charming coffee table read!
“Remarkable Village Cricket Grounds” is out now, RRP £25.
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