By JIM LYON
DIRECTIONS: (Satnav - NN1 4PR) Situated close to Abington Park in the centre of Northampton, Wantage Road has improved greatly over the past decade. The ground is basically surrounded by tight streets with terraced housing. Abington Avenue gets very busy at rush hour times as does the Wellingborough Road. There is little public transport from the station apart from a taxi - and it a fair walk - although a taxi shouldn’t be too expensive.
CAR PARKING: There is plenty of parking at the ground unless Sky are around - although it can get quite solid on T20 nights. The press parking is behind the stand at the Wantage Road end.
FACILITIES: The press box facilities are far from luxurious but are much better than they used to be. The view is excellent high up behind the bowler's arm. The addition of a television studio above the Lynn Wilson Centre should, in theory, mean the view from the press box is not completely obscured whenever Sky come to town. However, that is not necessarily the case. In the past, the club have often found an alternative area - such as one of the executive boxes - for us if it is impossible to see the game from the normal vantage point. Wi-fi has been an issue but the connections seem to be a lot better these days. The press officer is Catherine Woolley and she is on 07854-481432 or email@example.com She will help arrange post-match interviews. During Championship matches go to the top of the steps on the players’ balcony and the required people will be brought to you. After T20 matches the same will happen but on pitch side near the dugouts. Food is brought to the press box at lunchtimes and is usually good. However, there are a selection of pubs and cafes on the Wellingborough Road if extra sustenance is needed but these are a distance away. The Italian Shop on the corner of Ashburnham Road and Collingwood Road - a two-minute walk away at the Abington Avenue end of the ground - do enormous panini (Tuesdays to Saturdays).
ACCOMMODATION: The old favourite is the Park Inn in the centre of town on Silver Street.The Hilton Hotel is close to junction 15 of the M1 while there the usual suspects like Premier Inn, Holiday Inn and Ibis within a long walk/short drive. There are some decent pubs in more rural areas that also offer rooms if ‘out of town’ is what you are after.
LEISURE: There are plenty of pubs on the Wellingborough Road with the Old House having undergone a very pleasant transformation over the last few years. A good real ale boozer is the Malt Shovel at 121 Bridge Street. It is in the centre of town (opposite the Carlsberg factory) and has a small garden at the back. They offer dozens of different beers and some decent grub at lunchtimes. The Lamplighter (66 Overstone Rd, Northampton NN1 3JS) is excellent and The Garibaldi (19-21 Bailiff St, Northampton NN1 3DX) has been smartened up if you are looking for good backstreet pubs in town. The Olde England on the Kettering Road - just around the corner from the ground near the Racecourse - has a vast selection of ales and ciders. There is also the Phipps Brewery on Kingswell Street (NN1 1PR) which is worth a visit. Closest to the ground are The Picturedrome on Kettering Road which is lively - and often has live music on in the evenings - the County Tavern and The Abington. The Wooden Walls of Old England 25 High Street, Collingtree has a large beer garden and is close to the Hilton Hotel if you are staying there. There are plenty of nice rural pubs in surrounding villages if you want to eat/drink away from the town. For eating out, Northampton has all the usual suspects in terms of chain restaurants. Pamukkale (54 St Giles' St, Northampton NN1 1JW) and Marmaris (29 St Giles' St, Northampton NN1 1JA) offer excellent Turkish food. If you want a curry then the Imran Balti Hut on the Wellingborough Road is a decent place. There is also the Royal Bengal on Bridge Street (which has been in business for years) and the Memsaab on Wellingborough Road (a few hundred yards from the Abington pub) is very good but the prices are a bit higher. There are two multiplex cinemas in Northampton. There is the UGC at Sixfields, which is on Weedon Road, The Vue Cinema at Sol Central, which is a large leisure complex close to the train station. The Royal & Derngate is a theatre complex with an intimate old-school rep style theatre and a bigger arena. They are on Guildhall Road. There is also the Errol Flynn Playhouse which is a small cinema with reclining seats where you can watch some slightly older films in comfort - and with wine or beer - if you don’t fancy the Odeon.