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After disputes with their previous landlords at the Racecourse Ground, Northamptonshire bought a ploughed field in 1885 for £2000 on which they built a sports ground - apart from cricket, there was a cycle track 650 yards long, and facilities for lawn tennis, athletics and bowls. From 1897, football was also played. In 1891 the county voted not to allow women to use the cricket pitch; 40 years later it staged the first women's Test between England and Australia.
Surrounded by red-brick terraced houses, this is a ground of character rather than beauty. The north end is known as the Football Ground end as it adjoins the playing ground of
Northampton Town Football Club. A new pavilion was constructed in 1979, lying alongside its predecessor, and a stand housing an indoor school. the wicket traditonally favours batsman, no more so than when Percy Fender his a century in 35 minutes here in 1920.
Colin Blythe, one of the best wet wicket bowlers, took all 10 Northants wickets in an innings here on his way to the astonishing figures of 17 for 48 in a single day's play in 1907.
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