Antigua Recreation Ground, Antigua & Barbuda: The Antigua Recreation Ground (ARG) is the national stadium of Antigua and Barbuda located in St. John’s, on the island of Antigua. While the ground has been used by both the West Indies cricket team and the Antigua & Barbuda national football team, it has Test cricket status.
It has produced a number of great cricketers, including Andy Roberts and Richie Richardson. One of Antigua’s most famous cricketers: Sir Viv Richards, scored the fastest Test match century off 56 balls vs. England in the “Blackwash” series of 1986 at the Recreation Ground.
The Antigua Recreation Ground was also where Brian Lara twice set the record for highest individual Test innings, scoring 375 in 1994 and the current record of 400 not out in 2004, both times against England.
After the building of the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium for the 2007 World Cup, no further Test cricket was expected at the Recreation Ground until after just ten balls, the 2nd Digicel Test between West Indies vs England on Friday, February 13, 2009, was abandoned due to an unfit outfield and an extra Digicel Test, called the 3rd Digicel Test, was scheduled to take place at the Antigua Recreation Ground on Sunday February 15, 2009.
Sitting amongst a sea of England supporters, Windies fan, Spencer, expressed his joy at being back at the ARG for the 3rd Digicel Test: “I came all the way from the Virgin Islands last week and was disappointed when they abandoned the match on Friday, but then when they announced that they were going to use the Recreation Ground I was extremely happy. This place has so much history. I grew up in Antigua and this ground is where I fell in love with Cricket. I have a lot of fond memories of these grounds. I was here when Sir Viv Richards scored the fastest Test match century and both times when Brian Lara set his Test innings records.”
England supporter, John, was equally as happy to be back at the ARG: “I have been coming to the Caribbean for years and I have very fond memories of the Recreation Ground. This stadium is just what one expects to see when they hear about cricket in the Caribbean. It has charm, history and character and I love it. I was disappointed on Friday but much happier now I’m back here.
Spencer and John sum up the feelings of most Caribbean cricket fans who are happy that Digicel Test Cricket has returned to the Historic Antigua Recreation Ground.