Clarence Park, Weston-super-Mare
|Clarence Road North End
Clarence Road South End
|As of 6 October 2009
Source: Ground profile
Clarence Park was given to the town of Weston-super-Mare by Rebecca Davies in memory of her husband. The cricket pavilion at the park dates from 1882. A multitude of sports have been played at the park, including cricket. The ground is owned by the local council. It is currently used by Weston-super-Mare Cricket Club.
The park is laid out in two sections. The western section is considerably the larger and is separated from the eastern section by Walliscote Road. The eastern section is a large trapezoidal area of flat open lawn, with an encircling pathway; outside the pathway there is a wide band of less manicured land heavily populated with mature trees. The lawned area (pictured) is often used to host cricket matches. The cricket pavilion is at the western edge, backing onto Walliscote Road. Part of the southern edge of the lawn is marked out for use as a croquet pitch; croquet matches are frequently held during the summer months. During recent years, this eastern section of Clarence Park has been used as a drop-off and pickup zone for the T4 on the Beach music event.
The western section of the park is laid out as a more formal park with mature trees, flower beds, lawned areas and a fish pond with fountain. Part of the southern end of this section is taken up by the clubhouse and 3 greens of the Clarence Bowling Club. At the north end, near Walliscote Road, there is a house originally used as the park-keeper's lodge. There is a children's play area near the western edge. Approximately in the centre of the western section of the park there is a small pavilion, operated in recent years as a cafe. The future of the cafe is currently under threat as a result of an arson attack which took place in early September 2011.
The park played host to home matches for Somerset between 1914 and 1996. The ground had a capacity of 6,000 spectators. The first recorded match on the ground which involved a senior cricket team was on 21 August 1914 and saw a Weston-super-Mare team play Glamorgan, seven years before Glamorgan were awarded first-class status. Several days later Somerset played their first match on the ground against Yorkshire. The highest attendance at the ground was 6,000 during a match against Hampshire in the 1947 County Championship season.
In 1936, there was talk about moving the Weston festival away from Clarence Park, a move strongly resisted by Jack White, who thought the ground to be "lovely". The festival remained at the ground for another sixty years, until the August 1996 Cricket Festival when Somerset played their final first-class or List A match at Clarence Park. Their final opponent on the ground was Durham.
The park is also home to the Clarence Park Invitation XI. The side was founded in 1992 by a group of local young cricketers who played their home games at the park. The team is thought to be one of the most exclusive cricket clubs in the country. Fixture lists are secret and not publicised, and membership is granted only by approval of all founding members.
- "Getting there". T4 on the beach. Channel 4. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
- "Clarence Park shop". Somerset Wood Recycling. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
- Evans, Bethan (22 September 2011). "Clarence Park cafe arsonist due for sentencing". Weston, Worle & Somerset Mercury.
- Roebuck, Peter. From Sammy to Jimmy: The Official History of Somerset County Cricket Club (1991 ed.). London: Partridge Press. p. 206. ISBN 1-85225-085-2.