The Cheltenham College school grounds host Gloucestershire annually in Cheltenham week, a tradition instituted by James Lillywhite, the cricket coach at the College in the 1870's. The ground was soon after "graced" with a triple century (318*) by the redoubtable WG, against Yorkshire in 1876. The following year Grace took 17 wickets for 89 runs here against Nottinghamshire. The ground has a distinct slope, and is attractively set, overlooked by the late vistorian buildings of the College, and St. Luke's Church. The ground is surrounded by a canvas fence, and many marquees during the Festival. Zaheer Abbas scored 205* and 108* v Sussex here in 1977, one of four occasions he made a double century and century without being dismissed. Cheltenham also saw the unusual hat-trick of lbw dismissals by MJ Procter against Yorkshire in 1979, and the even more unusual (in fact unique) hat-trick of stumpings by WH Brain off CL Townsend's bowling in 1893. . One of the great allround feats was performed here by Wally Hammond, who set the world record of ten catches by a fielder, as well as scoring a century in each innings against Surrey in 1928. Strangely there are three other instances of fielders taking eight catches in a match at Cheltenham, making four out of a total of only 12 instances in all first-class cricket. Arthur Mailey's autobiography was given a title by his bowling figures of 28.5-5-66-10 v Gloucestershire in 1921 (10 for 66 And All That). In 1947, 14000 packed the ground for Gloucestershire's match against Middlesex, a game which was effectively the Championship decider. Middlesex won, despite Tom Goddard's 15 for 156. in 51 matches on the ground, Goddard took 269 wickets, including 24 five-fors and ten ten-fors.
In day of old the ground was populated by colonels and clergymen. Although times have changedm, it retains much of its appeal. As David Hopps wrote in The Guardian: "Cheltenham isn't snooty any longer, even if you can still spy the straw hats and tropical suits reminiscent of erstwhile days when the wearers were home on leave from the colonies. The festival is far more egilatarian. Those long flowery dresses of officers' wives have given way to bare midriffs of nubile wine-bar girls not long out of one of the local young ladies' colleges. In early evening, too, throaty male decibels increase - belonging more to Kingsholm than this ground's Gothic chapel."
Sun Jul 5 - Wed Jul 8
Specsavers County Championship Division One
Gloucestershire v Yorkshire
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