Where we used to Play: Morlands Athletic Ground, Glastonbury

When Somerset County Cricket Club was formed in 1875 at Sidmouth CC following a match between the Gentlemen of Somerset and the Gentlemen of Devon it was decided that the Club would initially lead a nomadic existence.

Rather than committing to one home ground, the decision was taken to bring quality cricket to the whole of the South West by playing at venues across the region.

Because we are proud to represent the whole of the South West region, we will be taking a closer look at some of SCCC’s homes away from home over the next few weeks.

Today we shine the spotlight on Morlands Athletic Ground, Glastonbury.

The first recorded match at the venue dates back to July 15th 1893. It was a one-day match that saw Glastonbury overcome Weston-super-Mare. Interestingly enough, records do not show how many wickets had fallen when the hosts reached their target but it is known that they batted on after winning.

Somerset’s first visit to the venue came in July 1952 the form of a three-day County Championship match against Northamptonshire. Second innings hundreds from Harold Gimblett and Stuart Rogers helped ensure that the match ended in a draw, although the visitors claimed four points from the match and Somerset scored 0.

Between 1952 and 1973, Somerset played 18 First Class matches in Glastonbury. The highest First Class score at the venue was 187 not out by Glamorgan’s Alan Jones in 1963. Somerset’s highest individual score was Roy Virgin’s 178 against the same opposition in 1970. Bill Alley was the only batter to reach three figures on more than one occasion at Morlands. He scored 136 against Worcestershire in 1967 and 131 not out against Lancashire in in 1962. Other notable centurions on the ground include: Brian Rose, Basil, D’Oliveira, Dennis Compton, Colin McCool, Ted Dexter and Colin Cowdrey.

Somerset’s best First Class bowling performance came in 1966 when Brian Langford claimed seven for 63 in the Northants second innings. He finished the match with 11 for 91. It was a match that Somerset won by nine wickets.

Somerset also played seven List A matches at the venue between 1969 and 1978. Somerset won five of those matches, one was abandoned and the only defeat came at the hands of Glamorgan in 1970. Brian Rose scored Somerset’s highest List A score at the ground when he made 61 not out against Glamorgan in 1972. Somerset’s best List A bowling performance was by Graham Burgess who claimed career best figures of six for 25 in the same match.

It is also believed that Somerset Women made their competitive debut at the venue against Surrey in a one-day match on May 19th 1956.