My favorite cricket ground on the planet is the Bellerive Oval in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
The pitch is not really anything to write home about (though of the 11 Tests played at the ground, eight have produced a result), and the terraces and stands are not particularly spectacular or historical, but the views of the Derwent river and the hills across the river it affords those of us lucky enough to watch the matches there on television are truly breathtaking:
As the matches progress, the cameras often show us the Tasmanians sailing, fishing, and otherwise enjoying the Australian summer; it gives the games a nice summery and festive feel that other grounds do not. It does not hurt of course that when it is warm and sun soaked in Australia, it is cold and miserable here in Minneapolis.
So many cricket grounds, especially those it seems in Australia, are outside of the city centers, in warehouse districts, settled in among bland office buildings; and so it is nice when there is a ground like the Bellerive Oval to savor.
And speaking more lyrically, there is something to be said for cricket at the edge of the world.
Bellerive is not the most southern cricket Test ground, those plaudits go to University Oval in Dunedin, New Zealand, but Bellerive is a very close second, and Hobart is on an island, adrift in the Southern Ocean, the last outpost before Antarctica. A lone watchtower on the far edge of the known universe.
Again, speaking lyrically, but it does give the matches a touch of the fantastical, that I enjoy.
If I had to pick one ground to see a Test match at, I would not pick Lord’s or the MCG or the Wankhede, I would pick the Bellerive Oval.
Cricket at the end of the world; at the bottom of it all.