Monday, 10 August 2015

Cricket in Cumbria

Posted by Tony Hutton

Saturday 1st August was a very happy Yorkshire Day, despite something of a false start in Sedbergh. Another of my favourite haunts it was of course in Yorkshire until local government reorganisation in the 1970s. However quite a few of the inhabitants obviously wish things had stayed the same, with a good number of Yorkshire flags flying including one on the parish church tower.

Sadly no more cricket at the lovely Sedbergh public school ground once term has ended, but after an excellent lunch at the Red Lion near the ground it was time to explore the state school ground down the road where the village team play in the Westmorland League Division three. I had not been there before and this would have been a new ground for me, but sadly the opposition Bare 3rd XI from Morecambe (not from a nudist colony) could not raise a team and the game was off.

Sadly at this time of year this is happening quite often, with holidays and other events taking priority over cricket. A sad state of affairs indeed for many village teams.
One of the tea ladies said the players were going to have a game amongst themselves but were happy at having 15 points by two o'clock when the game should have started.

However not to be deterred it was off up the motorway to Penrith and then a left turn along the banks of Ullswater, which looked better than ever in the afternoon sun. At Patterdale is another of my all time favourites this time in the Eden Valley League and the ground surrounded by the fells is another in my top ten.

Cricket at Patterdale

Nothing much has changed since my last visit some years ago and the ground just off the main road is still an oasis of calm not far from the tourist hoards at the bottom end of the lake. The visitors Gamblesby were batting and three early wickets had fallen before our arrival. However something of a recovery took place and the runs began to pile up. It was sufficient just to soak up the atmosphere of the scenery and the sound of running water from the nearby beck, presumably coming down the fells from Helvellyn.


Gamblesby apparently ended their 40 overs with a total of 175-6 and then dismissed Patterdale for 168, so the visitors won by just seven runs. In the pavilion was an interesting picture of the football club which shares the ground. Looking a bit like Sunderland they turned out to be Ullswater United. I took a picture of the picture, so to speak, to test Mr Winn's friend, the non-league football expert, and when we met a few days later was quite pleased he had never heard of them.

All too soon it was time to move on, this time down narrow country lanes alongside the wonderful Blencathra mountain until we were off the tourist track at the back of Skiddaw where Caldbeck were entertaining Staffield, also in the Eden Valley League.
Another attractive ground, with a modern pavilion but sadly not possible to walk round the ground to take more pictures as the playing area took up all the space available.
However the wooded hillside beyond the ground was a picture and again a nearby stream was bubbling away at the back of the church where John Peel is buried.

The result here showed a very close finish, with Staffield making 157-6 and the home side just getting home with one wicket and one over to spare. This game was in the Eden Valley Premiership and obviously a notch up from Patterdale, with two properly dressed umpires officiating unlike the two players at the first match.

Cricket at Caldbeck

The following day, Sunday 2nd August it was to another long time favourite the Edenside ground in Carlisle, where a three day Minor Counties game between Cumberland (who still use the old name) and Hertfordshire. The ground and pavilion were severely damaged by the floods in 2005 but have now been restored to their former glory and it was a pleasure to return after so many years.

Carlisle cricket club 2005

This ground has a special place in my affections as I was there on 25th May 1955 for Cumberland's very first Minor Counties game against Yorkshire 2nd XI. The Yorkshire team included many famous names (before they were famous) such as Doug Padgett, Dickie Bird, Jack Van Geloven, J.R. Burnett, Eddie Leadbeater and Jimmy Binks. Yorkshire made only 187, but still won by an innings by dismissing Cumberland for 76 in both innings.

Back to the present and Hertfordshire's first innings never got going against the bowling of Gleeson, who took 3-40 in 22.5 overs and spinner Toby Bulcock, who plays for Richmondshire alongside Cumberland skipper Garry Pratt. Yes the one who ran out Ricky Ponting all those years ago. Anyway Bulcock, as so often for Cumberland, took 5-56 in a marathon 33 overs.

Edenside Carlisle 2015

Day two started early at 10.30 to make up some of the time lost to rain the previous evening and the home side were able to establish a considerable lead on first innings thanks to opener Hale and Neil Longhurst, who plays for Whitley Hall in South Yorkshire. Hale made 40 and Longhurst the only 50 of the match in just 63 balls. It was hard to fathom Hertfordshire's tactics as they only used three bowlers in the all out total of 263. Their left arm spinner, Kazmi, bowled  37.3 overs but was much more expensive than Bulcock finishing with 5-124.

Carlisle with ski-slope

By the close on day two Herts had collapsed again to 92-6 so the morning of day three saw an early end to the game, by which time we had moved on elsewhere. For the record Herts were all out for 144 thanks mainly to the indefatigable Kazmi with 39 not out. Once again Bulcock was the main man for Cumberland finishing with 7-57 and a total of 12 wickets in the match. Cumberland only required 26 to win and did so for the loss of one wicket in only 3.3 overs, so a convincing victory by nine wickets which leaves them still top of the Eastern Division table.

Traditionally the best viewpoint at Carlisle

Information from a normally reliable source suggests that if Cumberland do win their Division the four day play off final will take place at the Netherfield ground in Kendal on September 6-9.

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