Lancashire Cricket play home match in… Yorkshire!

Officially Sedbergh is in Cumbria although most locals are sticking to it being in Yorkshire. Either way, the old West Riding town is definitely not in Lancashire.

But that hasn’t stopped Lancashire County Cricket Club making Sedbergh School its first new ‘outground’ for more than thirty years, and in doing so making history by bringing first class cricket to the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Around 2,500 spectators watched day two of Lancashire’s County Championship match against Durham.

As swifts screeched overhead, and the hospitality van generator hummed , passers by would ask, ‘Which one is Jimmy Anderson?’ Look closely and you’ll see below the unmistakable bowling action of England’s all-time top wicket taker.

The fans looked content in the magnificent setting of the school grounds and the Howgill fells, but not every Lancastrian was happy to be playing a home match that was as near to Durham as it was to Old Trafford .

“What the bloody hell are we doing playing in Yorkshire?” was the question put to me by one watching club member.

Club historian the Rev Malcolm Lorimer, ensconced in the press tent, had a rather different perspective.

“We’re only just in Yorkshire,” he pointed out, “and anyway this is revenge for 1865.”

Rev Malcolm Lorimer with the souvenir brochure he’d written for the occasion

Revenge? 1865? That was the year, he said, that Ashton CC of Lancashire, then a very strong club, staged a first class match between Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire. So it was Yorkshire which started this home-match-on-rival-territory business.

“It’s fantastic for Lancashire to be playing here because it brings cricket closer to members living in the north of the county,” said Mr Lorimer.

One steward, a club member since 1952, was similarly pleased to be in Sedbergh. “It’s bringing cricket to the fans. It feels like village cricket. We’ll be back next year,” he said.

The Director of Cricket at Sedbergh School, Martin Speight, in pre-match remarks, said diplomatically: “We have very close links with Lancashire, Durham and Yorkshire. We’re in the middle of all three. This is about showcasing first class cricket. It should inspire some kids to get out there and play the game.”

And the score? Well, the pitch wasn’t ‘doing much’ for Jimmy and co at the time of my visit, with Durham coasting along nicely in their first innings.

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