Owzat for a life in cricket: The Big Interview with former England and Lancashire batsman David Lloyd

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​A player for club, county and country; an umpire, coach and commentator – David Lloyd takes a moment to reflect on his distinguished life in cricket before exclaiming: “Groundsman! I’ve never been a groundsman.”

The 77-year-old has fulfilled many roles in the sport he loves.

Whether that’s opening the batting in an Ashes series for England, coaching his country to success or becoming a national treasure behind the mic as an expert summariser, Lloyd has virtually done it all in the game. There’s just one glaring omission on his glittering cricket CV – he’s never prepared a wicket. That is until now!

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Having moved to North Yorkshire with his wife Diana, Lloyd decided to turn his back lawn into a mini-cricket pitch, complete with bails and stumps.

Former Lancashire and England cricketer turned commentator David Lloyd, right, made an appearance for Lancashire Over 70s against Staffordshire at Leyland Cricket Club. Photo: Kelvin Lister-StuttardFormer Lancashire and England cricketer turned commentator David Lloyd, right, made an appearance for Lancashire Over 70s against Staffordshire at Leyland Cricket Club. Photo: Kelvin Lister-Stuttard
Former Lancashire and England cricketer turned commentator David Lloyd, right, made an appearance for Lancashire Over 70s against Staffordshire at Leyland Cricket Club. Photo: Kelvin Lister-Stuttard

There’s even a scorebox – the only thing missing is a proper pavilion!

"I’ve never been a groundsman but that now is my passion,” Lloyd said.

"I’ve got a nice place in North Yorkshire and I sit on my mower and sit on my roller.

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"A few folk have come around to the house and said, ‘Shall we have a game?’.

David Lloyd, right, when he was England coach with Mike AthertonDavid Lloyd, right, when he was England coach with Mike Atherton
David Lloyd, right, when he was England coach with Mike Atherton

“I say, ‘Oh no, we can’t! We will need an ambulance on standby – the pitch is not level.

"But the people who owned the house before us had horses so they had a horse shelter, so that’s been turned into a scorebox.

"The tins that you used to get on an old scorebox, I bought them off eBay and they are up as if there is a match going on.

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"There’s a big agriculture building which has got electric and water so that can act as the pavilion, the players could get changed in there and I’ve got a hosepipe for a shower.

"That will be all right, that’ll do.”

Lloyd’s work in his back garden has not gone unnoticed – his local cricket club Sheriff Hutton Bridge have offered him a few shifts preparing their pitch.

Working at grassroots level has always been in Lloyd’s blood from the moment he first turned up at local club Accrington as a young lad.

And despite reaching the very pinnacle of the sport as a player, he returned to play for his boyhood club – still turning out for them in the Lancashire League, where possible, well into his 60s.

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And his memories of playing club cricket are still very distinct.

"When I first started playing for Accrington, the Lancashire League was revered,” said Lloyd, who made his debut for Lancashire Over-70s – scoring 87 not out against Staffordshire at Leyland Cricket Club earlier this month.

"It was known as the league to play in for overseas players – and we are talking world class players.

"My recollections go back to the 1950s and 1960s. I played a little bit before going to Lancashire and then went back to Accrington after finishing playing with Lancashire in the 1980s.

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"When I went back playing for Accrington, Viv Richards was the professional for Rishton.

"He had flown in on a helicopter to sign. Viv is such a great bloke and if you’re picking an all-time world XI, he would probably still be in it.

"Shane Warne was the pro at Accrington early in his career.

"I have so many great memories of the players – Wes Hall, Eddie Barlow, Bobby Simpson – they were all pros at Accrington in my early career.

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"But every other team in the league had a world-class professional as well.”

Lloyd’s grounding in club cricket gave him the skills to become a county player with Lancashire and ultimately an international with England.

He made more than 400 First Class appearances, scoring more than 19,000 runs and taking 237 wickets.

In nine Test matches, he scored 554 runs including a double century against India at Edgbaston, as well as featuring in eight One Day Internationals.

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"Club cricket was unbelievably important in my development,” said Lloyd.

"Firstly, it sparked my interest. Like every other kid I was going around collecting autographs of these professionals in the 1950s.

"Secondly, I became a player at Accrington and to start playing with and against these kind of players, you’re ambition then comes into it and you move forward as a player.”

Lloyd admits playing for his country was the ultimate dream fulfilled.

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"It is the proudest moment and to coach my country as well,” he added.

"What you have got to remember is there was a lot of hard work, ambition, experience which went into all that – and a lot of heartache too.

"It was not all a bed of roses, there were down times but that’s what makes cricket such a fantastic game.

"You’re up, you’re down – you just have to stay level headed.”