• Thursday, Nov 14, 2019
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Bristol Diary: Into the ground of WG Grace

  • Published at 07:08 pm June 13th, 2019
Grace
The great WG Grace's nameplate is cemented at the main entry gate of the Bristol county ground Dhaka Tribune/Ali Shahriyar Amin from Bristol

William Gilbert Grace, also known as The Doctor, The Champion, The Big 'Un and The Old Man, one of the greatest players in the history of the game, was born in this city in 1848 and played at this ground in the late 19th century

Whilst entering the Bristol county ground, one among the few thoughts that popped up in my mind is that this was the home ground of the great WG Grace.

William Gilbert Grace, also known as The Doctor, The Champion, The Big 'Un and The Old Man, one of the greatest players in the history of the game, was born in this city in 1848 and played at this ground in the late 19th century.

A total of 54,211 first-class runs in 870 matches, with 124 centuries and 251 half-centuries certainly proves that Grace is one of the most absolute legends of the game. 

And with the ball, he took 2,809 wickets at an average of 18.14 and economy rate of 2.45, and claimed 240 five-wicket hauls and 64 10-wicket hauls. 

Staggering, isn’t it?

Honestly, I expected his monument at the stadium as I have heard so many stories of his greatness. I did not find any in first glance but later discovered that the The Doctor’s nameplate has been cemented in the main entry gate.  

I tried to realize his significance in the game of cricket as I have read quite a few stories about the great Grace on the internet.

Dhaka Tribune/Ali Shahriyar Amin from Bristol

He was not only a great cricketer, but also a great human being. He was a physician, and that’s why one of his nicknames was The Doctor. He often helped poor people with treatment and food.

The Bristol county ground was initially known as Ashley Down Ground. Later, it was bought by Grace in 1889 and has been home to Gloucestershire ever since.

Meanwhile, this ground is not only famous for the great Grace. This ground was the home ground of legendary players like Gilbert Jessop and Wally Hammond as well.

Jessop is often considered as the fastest run-scorer in history. 

One example of his greatness is that he scored a century in just 75 minutes against Australia while chasing 263 after coming to the crease when the score was 48/5.  

The record book says he scored a hundred in just 76 balls, which is still one of the fastest in Test cricket history. 

And can you imagine the date when it occurred? It was in the year 1902!

And Hammond’s 7,249 Test runs at an average of 58.45 just goes to show the legendary cricketer that he was. 

A tally of 50,551 runs, including a stunning 167 first-class hundreds stamps his name in the history book as one of the greatest cricketers that ever lived.

All these players have played at this ground for a long time.

Bangladesh cricket team also have good memories at this ground as they beat England in an ODI in 2010 which is a memorable success for the Tigers.

The Tigers had no luck this time around as their 2019 World Cup match against Sri Lanka was washed out due to rain and wet outfield, but as a cricket fan, I have certainly taken some memories from this historical ground, where legends like Grace, Jessop and Hammond have played so many games in their career and created history in the and early and late 19th century.