Lancashire nostalgia in 1982: Mega storm; midges stop play; and bowls uproar

Here's a look at some of the stories that were making the headlines back in 1982:

By Naomi Moon
Thursday, 24th June 2021, 12:36 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th June 2021, 12:38 pm
Lightning strikes of up to five-million volts struck the county
Lightning strikes of up to five-million volts struck the county

North West storms the most violent ever

The most violent thunderstorm ever recorded in Britain caused havoc throughout Lancashire and Cumbria.

Five-million volt lightning strikes, the heaviest rain for 20 years and flash flooding left a trail of destruction.

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A swarm of midges caused play to be suspended during a local cricket match between White Coppice and Newburgh

Thousands of homes were blacked out, families trapped and roads were blocked.

Lancashire weather experts said the clouds contained as much energy as a nuclear bomb.

Firemen, police and ambulance men battled non-stop to cope with damage. And they were out again as workers arrived to find offices flooded.

Between 5.45am and midnight - the peak of the storms - the Lancashire fire brigade answered 203 calls, 42 of them in Preston alone.

There was uproar at a Battle of the Roses bowls match when Lancashire were forced to play another end and lost the match they thought they had already won

Station officer Jack Clarkson said: “It was quite an experience. I have never seen anything like it before.”

Lightning struck Fulwood police station dislodging brickwork.

Many of the fire calls were to fire and burglar alarms set off by the lightning.

Others were to flooding due to heavy downpours with drains unable to cope. Worst affected in Preston was the Watery Lane - Brook Street - Aqueduct Street area.

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Look back at a selection of pictures from 1982 here

Rain didn’t stop play during cricket match - midges did!

A buzz went round a village cricket ground... and two teams produced a new statistic for the record books.

Midges stopped play!

Swarms of the irritating insects descended on the picturesque home of White Coppice Cricket Club, nestling in the hills above Chorley.

And it was enough to stump batsmen and bowlers alike in the Chorley League Second Division game between White Coppice and Newburgh.

Hard bitten spectators had never seen anything like it. Fielders waved their hats about and then umpires decided enough was enough.

Said White Coppice secretary Geoff Haydock: “We have people here who have been watching since the 1930s and they can’t remember anything like it.

“Normally nothing like this ever happens but it was a still, humid evening and the midges swarmed in off the lodge nearby.”

At one stage it looked like being abandoned - but after 15 minutes a shower of light rain cleared the air and the game ended in a draw.

Said Geoff: “Afterwards it looked like we all had measles.”

Now the club is considering investing in some natty looking Foreign Legion type headgear.

Another insect to cause bother at a cricket match is bees. The said species had once infamously left a few cricketers and officials injured during a game in 1981.

Uproar tickles the kitty at top Battle of the Roses bowls match

A Battle of the Roses bowls match ended in uproar when furious fans booed and barracked a referee.

And the North West’s two top bowlers later claimed they had been robbed of one of the most important crown green tropies.

The angry scenes came at Blackpool’s Waterloo Hotel as crowds watched BBC2’s £6,000 Top Crown pairs final.

Preston’s Brian Duncan and Leigh’s Norman Fletcher appeared to have won the tournament when a Fletcher wood finished in a position to give them three points for 15-14 win in a thrilling final.

Yorkshire’s Allan Thompson and Robert Hitchen, who had led 14-12, thought the Lancashire couple had beaten them, and were ready to offer congratulations. Most of the spectators in the big crowd also thought Duncan and Fletcher had won.

But referee Barry Cotterill, of Cannock in Shropshire, kicked Fletcher’s wood away and disqualified it because he claimed Fletcher had got too close in stamping the green to help it reach its target.

Another end was therefore played, with the Lancashire men given only two points instead of three.

Duncan and Fletcher refused to take part in the presentation afterwards.