The County Ground was bought by WG Grace in 1889 (he lived nearby) and although it has had a somewhat troubled existence - more than once the county has considered leaving the ground - it remains the home of Gloucestershire, and is now even host to the occasional ODI. In 1919 the county sold the venue to Fry's, the confectionary firm, who brought in their own groundsman and, for a time, changed the name. In 1933 the county bought it back again. In 1976 they once again sold it, this time to Royal & Sun Alliance, buying it back in 2004.
The venue is not beautiful but it is steeped in cricket history, from the moment spectators enter via the Grace Gates, the role that legends such Gilbert Jessop and Wally Hammond have played is unmistakable. The ground is full of character, fringed by trees, with a solid Edwardian pavillion. The wicket is good, and can favour spinners. Difficult conditions can prevail, as when Gloucestershire played Middlesex here in 1909, when the game was completed in a single day, or when Tom Goddard took 17 wickets in a day here in 1939. In another Gloucestershire-Middlesex game in 1938, Jim Smith made the fastest uncontrived first-class fifty (11 minutes, 6 sixes, 2 fours). Grace scored a triple century here in 1896 against Sussex, a feat matched by Hammond in 1934 v Glamorgan.
The ground now acts as a general sports centre, with squash and tennis courts, and in winter the turf serves as the target for a golf driving range.
The County Ground first hosted ODI cricket during the 1983 World Cup and has become a semi-regular presence on the white-ball circuit over the last 15 years or so.
The ground has hosted some memorable one-day games, perhaps most notably a pre-Ashes game in 2005 where a freewheeling Kevin Pietersen propelled England to a three-wicket victory over the Aussies, or Bangladesh’s five-run win five years later when Ian Bell bravely yet forlornly hobbled out at number 11 with a broken foot to try and sneak England to victory.
The ground has generally been more bowler-friendly than most, with five five-wicket hauls from 17 games (one of which was abandoned without a ball bowled) a notably high mark.
More recently there have been plenty of runs, inevitably, with England smashing the Windies all round the west country two years ago. West Indies will be pleased not to see Bristol on their 2019 itinerary having played four games here previously and lost the lot.
We are already a week into the World Cup and things are still very much open as far as the points table is concerned. Both Sri Lanka and Pakistan have a poor net run-rate with one win to their name and will be looking to rise up the ladder in the coming matches. Considering the way things have gone for the two sides, they both look on par with each other. However, Pakistan have a better-settled unit with more experience available at their disposal and are coming on the back of a win over a more formidable team. Due to that as well as the aforementioned reasons, we think the men in green are better placed to emerge on top in the upcoming fixture.
We are within a day of the inaugural game of the much-awaited first game of ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 where South Africa is set to take on the hosts, England. Going ahead in the tournament, we have Afghanistan taking on Australia in an all-important encounter which may not look as engrossing on paper but may well turn out to be a cracker of an encounter. The two teams are set to meet each other on 1st May in the fourth World Cup encounter at County Ground, Bristol. Not long ago, Afghanistan and Australia had plenty of daylight between them as far as the difference in ODI rankings is concerned. While the difference is still there, it has definitely bridged by some margin, if not completely. The kind of format this World Cup is being played in, no team can afford to take their opponents lightly. Such is going to be the case once again and despite daylight of a difference between the two sides, we expect a cracker of a contest.