Red Rose fixture’s a record-breaker

England bowler James Anderson was in action at Trafalgar Road
England bowler James Anderson was in action at Trafalgar Road
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Southport and Birkdale chairman Tony Elwood has hailed ‘a fantastic four days of cricket’ after Lancashire hosted Durham at Trafalgar Road.

The encounter was the first occasion that S&B had staged a Red Rose County Championship home fixture since 2011.

And although the result did not quite go Lancashire’s way, the match turned out to be a thrilling affair as the visitors sealed victory by just two wickets in glorious sunshine late on Tuesday afternoon .

It was certainly great entertainment for the record crowd which passed through the turnstiles over the course of the four days.

They got to see some of the game’s biggest stars including England all-time leading wicket-taker James Anderson and rising Three Lions all-rounder Ben Stokes.

There was even a surprise in store for some of S&B’s juniors as they took part in an impromptu game of mini-cricket with Durham’s players, who had stuck around long after the final ball was delivered.

“We were a little bit worried on Friday because it poured it down, but we ended up having four days of absolutely glorious sunny weather,” said Elwood.

“Then on Wednesday morning, we had thunder and lightning.

“It could not have been more ideal for the club.

“We have actually broken a record for the biggest attendance this century for a Lancashire home County Championship fixture – and that includes Old Trafford.

“We held the previous record from the last time we staged a match in 2011.

“Seven-and-half-thousand came over the four days back then and I think we managed 7,600 this time. You have to remember back in 2011, we had not staged a game for 12 years and Lancashire had to hold all their Championship fixtures at the outgrounds because they had to turn the square around at Old Trafford.

“So there was a bit of novelty factor back then, so to beat that record this year is fantastic.

“The game was a great one to watch – by the final afternoon all four results were still possible.

“There were some great players on show.

“We were a little bit disappointed before the game when we heard that Jos Buttler had broken his thumb and wouldn’t be able to play because he is a big draw.

“But then we got news that Jimmy was going to play the first couple of days and obviously there were players like Ben Stokes, Paul Collingwood, Graham Onions – just fantastic.

“They were all great lads, mucked in and talked to anybody.

“All the Durham lads stayed at the ground until midnight and played a game of cricket on the outfield with some of our juniors.”

Having signed an agreement with Lancashire earlier this year, Southport can look forward to staging another county fixture over the next two years – and hopefully beyond that.

“We signed a three-year agreement with Lancashire, said Elwood. “This is the first of three.

“That’s pretty unique because Lancashire have never done that before. They are committed to coming to Southport for three years.”