Happy Birthday to the Cooper Associates County Ground!

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Happy Birthday to the Cooper Associates County Ground which today celebrates 134 years of hosting First Class cricket.

Originally known as the Rack Field, the ground that was to become the headquarters of Somerset Cricket was already the home of Taunton Athletics Club and Taunton Cricket Club, but was in major need of upgrading.

By 1882 the Old Pavilion had been built at a cost of £800 and on August 8th Somerset took to the field for the first time in a First Class match at their new home ground against Hampshire.

Old Pavilion

On that historic Tuesday morning Somerset skipper Stephen Newton won the toss and asked Hampshire to bat first, which proved to be a good decision when the visitors were all out for 146 in 98.2 overs.

The pick of the Somerset bowlers was Bill Fowler who claimed four for 10 from his 10 overs. Five of which were maidens.

In reply Somerset made 214 all out of which Robert Ramsay, batting at number seven, contributed 71.

Batting for a second time Hampshire were bowled out for 290, Ramsay taking four for 50 with his leg breaks.

Chasing 223 for victory Somerset reached 224 for five off 86 overs, thanks to a second wicket partnership of 118 between Newton who made 80 and Edward Sainsbury who hit 63.

Since that day 134 years ago the Cooper Associates County Ground has played host to most of the greatest names ever to play the game.  The likes of Bradman, Sobers, Botham, Richards, Gavaskar, Waugh, Tendulkar et al have all plied their trade on the hallowed turf at Taunton.

The ground has witnessed some incredible matches down the years too and next year England will take on South Africa in a T20I which will act as a fitting tribute to this historic venue.

Happy Birthday to the Cooper Associates County Ground!