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Counties - Media Guide to the Grounds (2013)

 

Somerset (Taunton and Bath) by Richard Latham

Email Richard on: karrob50@hotmail.com

 

Taunton 

 

Directions

 

How to get there - local info to avoid traffic. M5 to junction 25, head for town centre and ground is signposted ‘market, cricket, theatre’ from second roundabout. If motorway is blocked make for the A38 to head to or from Bristol and beyond. Public transport from station - The station is within walking distance of the ground. It takes about seven to ten minutes depending whether you are Ivo Tennant or David Green!

 

Ground Facilities

 

Car parking arrangements – proximity to box, need to pre-arrange (if so, with whom), etc. Car park directly behind Press Box at St James St entrance. Plenty of spaces for County Championship matches. For one-day games it’s best to arrive at least an hour before the start to be sure of a space. No need to pre-arrange except for major cup fixtures or tour matches. Gate men much more friendly than in the days of Eddie “The Eagle”! Press box is well positioned for most pitches. Three tiers of seating, comfortably accommodating 18 journalists, with a further row at the back for six more on higher chairs. Flat surface for laptops in front of all seats. Large windows offering excellent view of playing area. And, new for 2008, a television (with Sky Sports) has been provided. Name and number of PA contact/local paper contact Richard Latham 01275 842053. Mobile: 07802 708352. Name of scorer (Rating out of 10 for helpfulness) Gerry Stickley 10 out of 10 for helpfulness and being easy to deal with. Gerry is good friend to the press. Name of PR contact - Richard Walsh (tel 07971 100418). Telecom arrangements in box Bristol and West News Agency have a line 01823 327202, which can be booked through Richard Latham. The Times have their own line. Power arrangements in box Plenty of power sockets with easy access in front of most press seats. Heat/cold/light/environmental Light airy box which can be chilly on cold days. Car parking arrangements – proximity to box, need to pre-arrange (if so, with whom), etc. Car park directly behind Press Box at St James St entrance. Plenty of spaces for County Championship matches. For one-day games it’s best to arrive at least an hour before the start to be sure of a space. No need to pre-arrange except for major cup fixtures or tour matches. Construction of new facilities and building of a new Andy Caddick Pavilion took place in recent years including retirement apartments on the former car park.

 

Refreshments

 

Food/drink arrangements in box. Tea and coffee provided with a large urn to keep the water hot. Local boozers for lunch time relief. The popular Masons Arms has recently closed, to the dismay of many regular visitors. The two nearest pubs are the Ring of Bells in St James Street and the Princess Royal in Cannon Street just across the road from the St James Street entrance to the ground. Local sandwich bars/delis/supermarkets. Good selection of food outlets in town centre five minutes walk from the ground. Morrisons supermarket next door to ground at River End, accessed by bridge. 'Pan et Vin' at the end of St James Street (on left on way to Debenhams) is good for snacks and sandwiches and does a daily roast for hot rolls. 

 

Accommodation

 

The Castle Hotel (tel 01823 272671) is highly rated by Ivo Tennant and others wealthy enough to stay there. One or two of our seasoned news hounds, including the said Tennant, have been able to negotiate special rates there, but a phone call to check prices is recommended. Blorenge House in Staplegrove Road (tel 01823 283005), is a high quality B&B offering a large English breakfast if required. At around £35-£45 a night, including breakfast, it is said to offer excellent value. Five minutes walk from ground. Orchard House at Middleway, Wilton (tel 01823 351783) is 15 minutes walk from the ground, next to the Vivary Arms, is another highly rated guest house.

 

Leisure

 

Pubs – The Malt ‘n’ Hops in Tancred St, ten minutes’ walk from the ground has a selection of real ales and an extensive lunch and dinner menu. Tel 01823 353835. To get there leave the ground at the St James St Entrance cross the road into Cannon St, turn left at the bottom and then first right. Restaurants – The Blackbrook Inn just the other side of the M5 on the road to Ilminster is five minutes drive from the ground and has its own restaurant area and excellent carvery. Another pub/restaurant is the Hankridge Arms on the left hand side as you drive from the ground towards the M5. Look out for the Sainsburys turning off a roundabout. Cinemas/theatres/concert halls/live music/nightclubs - The Brewhouse Theatre (tel 01823 283244) is next-door to the ground and hosts plays, shows and concerts most nights of the week. The Odeon Cinema complex  (tel 0870 505 0007) is on the left hand side of the road going from the ground to the M5. Local sights worth seeing on a rainy day/summers night? Somerset’s own cricket museum on the ground is worth a visit. So is the Somerset County Museum which is on Castle Green, just behind the Castle Hotel. Nearby golf courses - Taunton Vale Golf Club (tel 01823 412880). Swimming pools/gyms, etc. St James’s swimming pool (tel 01823 350100) is in St James St, a short walk from the ground.