Today began the wonderful (and financially crippling) journey of visiting all eighteen county grounds in aid of Shooting Star Chase Hospice (details below). Whilst Tom Abell was battling his way to a heroic 88*, we trundled past as many cows (for I counted) on the slow-but-steady First Great Western. It was befitting that a chap we met at Taunton should tip Abell to play for England on the day where he carried his bat at Edgbaston.
Like all great journeys, unless they begin in darkest Peru, we set off from Paddington. Although the weather along the way alternated between apocalypse and paradise, it was appropriately sunny skies which greeted us at the tranquil Taunton Train Station. After a short walk, we bridged the glistening River Tone, whose catching of Chris Gayle’s huge six ranks it only second to Chris Jordan amongst England’s most proficient fielders.
On entering Taunton, you immediately notice its picturesque nature and it is not for nothing people of the Twittersphere have been insisting it is amongst the prettiest of the grounds. The stunning backdrop of the Cathedral and lush green of the outfield give it a quiet, understated look often only outgrounds are privileged to possess. It has the feeling of a true cricket ground, blending seamlessly into the countryside, rather than the impression modern football stadia convey of large manufactured surfaces dropped from the sky.
After a well-guided tour of the ground (thanks to Somerset for their wonderful hospitality), in which we saw the Long Room, the indoor school and the M&H bat-making factory, we made our way to the Somerset Stand in order to watch the Australian Women netting in preparation for tomorrow’s Ashes match. Despite having to evade a top-edged sweep which flew over the net, the Australians looked in fantastic nick, with some beautiful cover drives on display. Naturally, I remained most pleased capturing a video of a solid forward defence. The game tomorrow should be a cracker; come on England!
We are currently writing this on the way to Brighton, in order to visit Hove tomorrow: Let the Tour continue.
To hear all the updates, photos and news follow @EoinJPMorgan (Hillel) and @JohnSimpsonFans (Binyamin) on Twitter; we’ll also remain on Deep Extra Cover for the duration of the trip, to whom we are extremely grateful for their support.
As mentioned above, the aim of this trip is to raise money for Shooting Star Chase Hospice, Middlesex CCC’s official charity partner, who do tremendous work in bettering the lives of children and their families for kids with terminal illnesses. They need £9.5 million a year to maintain their brilliant service, and we would highly appreciate it if you could help them to continue their care, by donating here or texting to 70070: RLOD50, followed by either £1, £2, £5 or £10.