By PAUL JONES
DIRECTIONS: (Satnav - LE2 8EB) Grace Road is sign-posted from Junction 21 of the M1 and junction with the M69. Taxis are in plentiful supply from the railway station. Journey to the ground is about 10 minutes and costs around six or seven quid. There are frequent bus services from the city centre to the Grace Road area. 47, 46, 88 and 85 are the best routes, about 15 minutes to the ground. Buses can be caught from Rutland Street which is located about 400 yards from the train station (exit station and head for city centre via the underpass. Rutland Street is on the right-hand side just past the Ramada Jarvis Hotel).
CAR PARKING: at the ground is provided free of charge on production of ECB press pass. WARNING: although it is not likely to be a problem for Championship, FPT and Pro40 games, the car park can fill up very quickly for Twenty20 games, so get there early. Additional parking for big games is provided at Aylestone Park opposite the junction of Grace Road and Saffron Lane.
FACILITIES: The press box is first-class but has been cut in half this year to provide a permanent studio for Sky. The view remains a good one and the wireless has been reliable in the last year or so. The scorer is Paul Rogers, who is very helpful, and there is a direct line from the press box to the scorers. Dan Nice is the press officer at Grace Road and very amenable. Dan can be contacted on 07949 694916 or firstname.lastname@example.org Refreshments - Sandwiches are supplied in the press box at lunchtime and there are tea/coffee making facilities. The Cricketers continues to provide a good pint of Everards Tiger for those seeking refreshment. Cafes and sandwich shops are sprinkled round the area. Old Aylestone has a selection of shops and is about 10 minutes walk from the ground (go down Duncan Road to Aylestone Road and turn left). There is also a café on Saffron Lane, (Caff on the Saff) close to the junction at the other end of Duncan Road. Good in the Meet and the Charles Palmer Suite is excellent - Leicestershire have raised their game significantly in this area over the past two seasons.
ACCOMMODATION: Leicester has the usual selection of hotels in the centre (Holiday Inn, Ibis, Ramada Jarvis). There is also a Holiday Inn (formerly the Post House) on Braunstone Lane East, a mile from Grace Road, and a Holiday Inn Express adjacent to the Walkers Stadium. The Hilton is right next to the M1 as is the new Marriott. Some good smaller establishments can be found on London Road (heading out to Oadby), which is the right side of the city for the cricket ground.
LEISURE: There are plenty of good restaurants in the city centre. Take your pick from Indian (quality), Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Greek, Big Mac, Burger King, KFC. Likewise, plenty of bars have sprung up in the last couple of years, notably round Granby Street and Belvoir Street. Cinema entertainment is at either Freemens Common (Odeon) or the Meridian Leisure Park (Vue). Freemens Common is on Aylestone Road towards the city centre and also has a Nandos restaurant and Local Hero pub, which does decent meals.Meridian is on the ring road a couple of miles from the ground (on the south of the city) and not far from junction 21 of M1. There is also a David Lloyd Fitness Centre plus restaurants in the shape of Frankie and Benny’s, Chiquitos, Spices (Indian) and a Hollywood Bowl for 10-pin bowling fans! The county is well served by golf clubs. If staying in or around the centre of town The Leicestershire, Scraptoft Golf Club and Cosby Golf Club have been recommended by a colleague who knows about these things.The county is well served by golf clubs. If staying in or around the centre of town The Leicestershire, Scraptoft Golf Club and Cosby Golf Club have been recommended by a colleague who knows about these things.
Oakham School ground is located at Doncaster Close, Station Road, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6DY (Tel 01572 722487).
FACILITIES: The ground has temporary media facilities and a wifi-code can be gained from Leicestershire Media staff. Car parking is available adjacent to the ground for press and media.
ACCOMMODATION: Contact Oakham Tourist Information for list of local Bed & Breakfast and Farmhouse stays Tel 01572 724329.
DIRECTIONS: The ECB Cricket Academy is based within the Loughborough University estate LE11 3TU (Tel 01509 226102). From M1 junction 23 or A6 follow signs for Loughborough University for campus and the ground.
FACILITIES: The ground has temporary media facilities and a wifi-code can be gained from ECB Media staff. Car parking is available adjacent to the ground for press and media.