While the England v New Zealand Test series has got off to a brilliant start and it’s been sensational to see fans back at Lord’s, we’re gutted that the Beige Brigade aren’t over for it in their usual numbers.
Co-founder Paul Ford was good enough to speak to us last week to share his thoughts on the series, which can be found here and is a must-read if you haven’t already, and we just had to ask him about his favourite cricket grounds.
As we were talking to the co-founder of the Beige Brigade, we made sure we asked for his top three grounds in both the UK and New Zealand.
First off, we’ve got his top three UK grounds…
“I couldn’t go past Lord’s, it is just phenomenal. I remember the first time we went there we flew in from New Zealand at 7am, landed, went and dropped the bag off at someone’s flat, and then we’re at the Taverners by 9am, and then 11am it was the first ball – what’s that 36 hours of travel and in we went.
“In New Zealand, a lot of the security guards are these brutes and they don’t like cricket at all. At Lord’s, we had an Irish guy called Adam in a green blazer who was looking after our part of the stand and was so kind to us.
“It is all the little things like that – the signs, the statues, the please do not move between overs, the slope, going out on the nursery ground, buying your Pimms, putting a bet on, laughing at the bacon and egg garb of the members, Father Time up there on the Mound Stand. There are just so many little things and traditions that Lord’s does, which if you’re a cricket fan you appreciate.”
“Trent Bridge is on there for me. A former New Zealand cricket called Phil Horne was the GM rep and so when we had this Beige Brigade crew going over he organised us a tour of the factory.
“So we get this great tour of the factory, then he takes us to Hooters for lunch, and then we went to Trent Bridge and they’d organised a talk with a historian about the history of New Zealand cricketers at Trent Bridge – Fleming, Cairns, Hadley, etc.
“It was awesome. We had a tour of the media centre and then went to visit the players who were out training at the nets. They even got the groundsman out and showed us the pitch. New Zealand got hammered in that Test match, by the way, but we had a fantastic time.
“There is a real connection for New Zealanders when you go to Nottingham and when you talk to people from Nottinghamshire that love their cricket they have a healthy respect for New Zealanders that have travelled halfway round the way to be there.”
Elstow Cricket Club, Bedfordshire
“The Elstow Cricket Club in Bedfordshire is one I’d love to get to. I met a couple of guys, Henry and Phil, from Elstow CC on the embankment at the Wellington Basin.
“We’ve kept in touch and they’ve been out a couple of times but I’d just love to get over there.
“I’m not a very good cricketer but I’d love to play in their bottom XI just to be a part of the Elstow Cricket Club because it just feels like the right thing to do when you’ve met a couple of international travelling cricket fans and shown them around New Zealand.
“The least I could do is see their neck of the woods.”
Bonus – Mystery Cricket Ground
“I’ve got a really good mate, Billy Johnson, who came out here for a gap year. He’s from Melton Mowbray and he played for the Great Dalby Cricket Club.
“I had a lovely evening there with him but he took me to a bunch of really random cricket grounds within an hour or two of his place.
“We went to this cricket ground that had sidescreens at either end and then a road that went through the cricket ground. When you bowled from that end you put a road cone down and the cars just banked up and waited to the end of the over then they took the cone away and the road cleared.
“I found that absolutely crazy. It was so awesome and I’ve been trying to find it. I can see it in my mind’s eye and I just couldn’t find it!”
We want to help Paul find his mystery cricket ground, so if you know which ground he’s talking get in contact on social media!