Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Derby; What a Sh*thole


It's been sometime since I got myself back in front of the keyboard for an extended period of time having spent the Royal Wedding treking the countryside north of the Hampshire county lines.

Before my title brings a raft of death threats from those of the middle lands of the England, it is in relation to a storey I was told, and have been re-told many a time by a group of Derbyshire’s finest in regards to Dennis Lillie stepping out of the changing rooms at the County Ground for the first time, on a grey over cast summers day, looking to the sky and remarking on his feelings of the place.

More amusing is the shock I had when I too was given the opportunity on a holiday with my wife to escape off for a couple of hours leaving her in the female version of day-care call Westfield, so as to escape to the County Ground just within arms length. As my friend Dave flashed his media pass and we came in from the side of the ground to see Middlesex looking to finish off Derbyshire’s 1st innings. The mood at the ground on a bright balmy Good Friday was of a casualness I had not seen on my travels to Lords or the Rose Bowl, deck chairs, camping chairs, blankets and packed lunches was the norm as mad dogs and Englishmen were baking themselves in the midday sun.

As I made my way around past the old scoreboard now media block, which my initial thought was of a toilet block only to notice a toilet does sit beneath it. The miss-matched stands show clearly where the old square was rotated and now leaves plenty of room at each end for picnic chairs and dogs to roam leisurely. The members pavilion a 2 storey old style club house that resembles a school class-room block from the 80’s houses a raft a old photos.

The Clubhouse
After a few quick beers to calm the raging thirst from my walk I settled to discussing cricket with a Derbyshire member, our mood turned towards the strength of the championship and its importance regardless of those that are in attendance. In doing so I noticed that to my left seemed a very new building compared to the redbrick's I have seen and went to investigate, it was here I found the beginning of change at Derbyshire County. A brand new indoor facilities with conference rooms and indoor training nets, along with a club shop and plenty of seating out the front.

With this discovery I found my large lunch and beer consumption over taking my urge to stay awake, and like most people post lunch I settled down for a small kip, only being mildly interrupted by that familiar crack of leather on willow from time to time, followed by a polite applause. On waking up from a the usual day-dream of scoring winning runs for Australia in the Ashes I made my way back up the pavilion to again sit with further friends and family of Dave and watch as the sun moved across the ground and the discussion lead to the change of the square, the removal of the old stables and that famous Dennis Lillie quote.

A rush of blood from Chris Rodgers denied him a 50 against his old club on return with just 20 minutes to play, an announcement rings around the ground of free entry on Saturday and again the shadows grow longer as the pints get emptier. Making my way around the ground to the car I spot a few who may of had a few too many in the sun and a dog that looks as bored as many of the wives sitting next to pink bellied men.

Bottom left; a couple of resting bodies.
Whatever Dennis did or didn't see here I'm unsure as this seems like the perfect meeting place. Where the beauty in the ground is in the holder and of those they share the meeting with. Minus the chrome fittings and corporate boxes, large over baring media centre and flash hospitality rooms sits a perfect little ground for all its collection of people to sit and bask in cricket which ever way you like it.

Finding time to talk to the ground staff.

1 comment:

  1. It must have been your visit that made Morris pack his bags