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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
New Road is the scenic and picturesque ground of Worcestershire County Cricket Club. Unlike Trent Bridge and Old Trafford which are reported on elsewhere in this section, New Road is not a Test Match venue. However with Worcester Cathedral overlooking the ground and the grounds location on the banks of the River Seven it is one of the sport’s most likable venues.
The ground has a capacity of 4,500 and as with all cricket venues these are all seated. There are a number of small uncovered stands with the old quaint pavilion being the focal point of the venue. Two scoreboards are located at opposite ends with the Graeme Hick stand being the most recent addition. One of the other stands is named after Basil D’Oliveira, Worcestershire’s most famous player who was a major force in breaking down the barriers of apartheid following the D’Oliveira Affair in 1968.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
On sale within the ground are burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, ice cream and hot and cold drinks. Having a glass of beer, Cider or wine whilst watching the overs go by is part of the attraction of attending a cricket match. Many supporters take their own hampers and make a family day of it.
If attending a County Championship game, then you will find cricket dull and boring unless you are a true cricket lover. However a Pro 40 or Twenty/Twenty game will be totally different and the atmosphere particularly against local rivals on a lovely summer's evening or Sunday afternoon will be fantastic. The sight of a hot air balloon passing over the ground, and the view of the Cathedral against the back drop of the trees gives this venue a special atmosphere of its own.
The city of Worcester has plenty to offer the first time visitor. As well as a visit to the cathedral, Worcester also has its own Racecourse, football and rugby venues for the sports enthusiasts. It possesses a good shopping centre with plenty of cafes, restaurants and public houses. Detroit's American Diner by the Racecourse is recommended for food and drink. Worcester is a good base for the foreign visitor when visiting the midlands. Wyre Forest and The West Midlands Safari Park are also near, and the city is handily located for visits to Cheltenham and Gloucester.
Worcestershire have a good County membership base and supporters turn out in force for the Pro 40 and Twenty/Twenty games. Local rivals are Warwickshire and one day games between the two counties are often sell outs.
New Road is ideally located in the centre of the city on the bank of the River Seven and a mere five minute walk from the City Centre. Car parking is available at the ground for Ł10, but other car parks are slightly cheaper in the vicinity of the ground. The nearest Railway station is Worcester Shrub Hill and Worcester itself is a ten minute drive from exits 6 and 7 of the M5 motorway. Birmingham and Bristol are the nearest airports both approximately a one hour drive.
If it's a sunny day then this is a four star family day out investment especially if attending a one day or limited over game. Prices are reasonable at between Ł10 and Ł20 dependent on the type of game you attend. The club encourages children to attend cricket with reduced admission and family packages.
There is a club shop at the entrance to the ground selling cricket strips, bats, balls and other souvenirs. Inside the ground there is an excellent small shop selling a range of cricket books for the enthusiasts. As at all cricket stadiums there are scoreboards informing the crowd of the state of play after each ball is bowled. Programmes and score cards are also on sale and the club has an excellent web site where tickets can be bought in advance.
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