Lancs return to S&B

Lancashire’s cricketers will play at Southport for the third time in five years next season when they take on Derbyshire in a County Championship LV= Division Two match starting on Sunday, May 24 (writes cricket correspondent Paul Edwards).

And to celebrate the fantastic news - we today publish a gallery of photos from August 2013, when Lancashire took on Hampshire at S&B.

~~The publication of the 2015 first-class fixtures was very properly delayed as a mark of respect for the late Australian batsman Phil Hughes but it eventually brought the tidings for which Southport and Birkdale’s officials had been hoping.

It was, therefore no surprise at all that S&B chairman Tony Elwood was in buoyant mood when informed of the Red Rose county’s plans to return to Southport for a game whose second day falls on a Bank Holiday.

“It is tremendous news and, obviously, we are delighted that Lancashire have chosen to come back to Southport next year,” he said. “We have kept in touch with the management at Emirates Old Trafford since the game here in 2013 and they are aware that our ground is always available.

“It’s a lot of hard work, of course, but we’re used to that and, having hosted two County Championship fixtures over the past four years, we know what needs to be done.

“Preparations are already underway, with the delivery group model that served us well in 2011 and 2013 being reconvened, this time under the chairmanship of Andrew Carney, who has guided Southport Rugby Club to its recent successes.

“The early season scheduling and Sunday start provide additional challenges, but cricket fans like coming here and it helps that the fixture falls during half-term week, so we will be working with Lancashire to market the match as effectively as possible.

“We have the prospect of bringing up to 10,000 people into the town, so hotels, restaurants and shops all stand to benefit.

“I therefore hope that the local business community will respond to the opportunities available and support the game. If we do it right, we will be looking to secure regular first-class cricket here in the future.

“Lancashire have a good record against Derbyshire at Southport, with wins in 1965 and 1968, with a draw in 1974, when Frank Hayes scored a memorable hundred, and we look forward to welcoming them again next summer.

There was also good news last week for Liverpool, whose ground will host a 50-over Royal London One-Day Cup game against Nottinghamshire on Thursday, August 4th, and for Blackpool , with Stanley Park also staging an RL match when Lancashire play Middlesex on July 29.

“I am glad that Aigburth and Blackpool will be hosting games too,” said Elwood, “but this is great news for S&BCC, Lancashire cricket fans and the local economy.”