Lancashire County Cricket Club
In 1864 thirteen clubs came together looking to form a county club and Lancashire County Cricket Club was born. Meeting at Manchester’s Old Trafford, which would become their home, the club intended to introduce cricket to all parts of Lancashire.
Lancashire played their first match at Old Trafford in 1865 against Middlesex, where they triumphed by 62 runs. The first Roses match against York followed in 1967, beginning a series of matches that would be seen in equal standing to Tests in the hearts of Lancashire fans.
In the 1970s, many players began to make their mark for the side, including A.N.Hornby, whose batting helped lead the club to success, and professionals like Dick Barlow and Alex Watson. Johnny Briggs also joined the side, a player who later went on to fame, scoring 10,000 runs and taking 1,000 wickets for the club, while Dick Pilling, a world class wicket keeper, made his first appearance. With a growing team, support for cricket and the popularity of Lancashire steadily increased, with 28,000 fans watching them in a three day match against Gloustershire in 1898.
Steady Rise to Success
Lancashire’s first county success came in 1879 when they were announced joint champions with Nottingham. This was the beginning of a winning streak which saw them claim top position in 1881, alongside Nottingham in 1882 and then shared with Surrey in 1884 and 1889.
These early years also saw the start of record breaking performances in the 1885 Roses match. The fun started when George Kemp scored Lancashire’s first century and continued when Johnny Briggs and Dick Pilling showed off their exceptional teamwork with a still standing record of 173 for a tenth wicket partnership. A decade later in 1895, Archie MacLaren made history himself with the first quadruple century in first class play, finishing with 424. At the time, this was the highest ever score in first class cricket and remains the top score for a native player.
Championship success followed again in 1897 and in 1904, a season which saw them emerge undefeated and, with 1,000 runs and 100 wickets, James Hallows proved himself a vital asset to the side. The early 1900s also saw history made when, in 1902, amateurs and professional walked to the wicket through the same gate for the first time. However, the side’s fourth place finish in 1910 seemed to be a turning point, as their stream of successes dried up, sinking to 11th place in 1914.
Top Of The Game
Between 1920 and the advent of World War Two, the Lancashire club came together and proved a formidable side, aided by the batting skills of players like Ernest and Johnny Tyldesley. Success followed, as they finished 2nd in the County Championship in 1920 and 5th in 1922. This proved the foundation for more impressive achievements as the club picked up the championship in three successive years from 1926 to 1928, an achievement due in large part to the outstanding batting skills of Ernest Tyldesley and Harry Makepeace, who both scored over 2,000 runs in the 1926 season.
Lancashire’s golden run continued and with Peter Eckersley as captain they were champions yet again in 1930, faltering only slightly in 1929, finishing in second place. 1934 marked a pivotal year, however, seeing them claim the County Championship outright for the last time. With retirements from key players, it seemed their reign as champions could have reached its peak.
After The War
1946 saw Cyril Washbrook and Winston Place bring fresh talent and hope to the club, making over 2,500 runs each and 19 centuries between them in 1947. Two years later, the club still weren’t achieving their full potential though, finishing 11th in the championship. However, a sudden turnaround saw them share the championship with Surrey in 1950 – a season which also saw Brian Statham emerge as a player to watch.
Cyril Washbrook stepped into position as captain in 1954, but his skills as a captain didn’t match those as a player and he failed to lead the club to the top of the leaderboard throughout his six years as captain. Things seemed to have changed again in 1960 though, when new captain Bob Barber helped the club take second place, but later seasons showed up his lack of experience, while the erratic appearances of England players like Brian Stantham and Geoff Pullers had a negative affect on the club. As a result, they ended the 1962 season at an all-time low, finishing in 16th position. Change was ineviable, and Stantham took over captaincy shortly after this season, helping the club get back on their feet – Stantham himself retired in 1968, with his 1,816 wickets setting a record for the club.
One Day Matches
New blood in the seventies saw the club improve, with Farokh Engineer and Clive Lloyd helping re-establish Lancashire’s reputation, albeit in the shortened form of the game. A new one day side, with emerging talents like David Lloyd, Barry Wood, Jack Simmons and Harry Pilling, meant the club picked up three Gillette Cups between 1970 and 1972 and finished top of the Sunday League in 1969 and 1970.
Yet again, it seemed Lancashire couldn’t keep up the consistent play and, despite winning for a record fourth time the Gillette Cup in 1975, the team began to break up and they ended in 16th the following season. This proved the beginning of a lean period where they failed to climb out of the bottom six for years to follow.
After years of disappointment, Lancashire eventually claimed another trophy, winning the Benson and Hedges Cup in 1984. Turbulent years still followed with the club failing to perform consistently until 1987, when a team started to emerge, including Michael Atherton, Graeme Fowler, Patrick Patterson and Paul Abbott. They finished this season at second place in the County Championship, their highest position in 27 years.
This propelled the club towards further recovery and in 1990 they won the Benson and Hedges Cup and the NatWest Trophy at Lord’s, setting a record as the first county to win both in the same year (which they repeated again in 1996). Second place in the Sunday League meant they just missed out on a hatrick sadly.
The 1990s proved prosperous in general, as young players like John Crawley contributed with the bat, while Peter Marvin and Glen Chapple chipped in with plenty of wickets. Indeed, 1998 saw them narrowly miss out on winning the championship, losing only five games in the whole competition under Wasim Akram.
A New Century
The early 2000s saw some team restructuring and departures of key players, but the side still finished second in the County Championship in 2000. Conversely, the one day side declined, with losses in the Benson and Hedges Cup in 2000 and the Nat West Trophy resulting in relegation in the National League.
2002 saw a more encouraging start with players recruited from across the country, including Stuart Law and previous Yorkshire captain David Byas. Alec Swan made an impact and James Anderson rose to recognition, securing an England place after taking 50 wickets in half a season.
Championship victory has still been just beyond the club’s grasp, despite coming close in 2003 with promotion in the National League. Stuart Law made an impressive number of 1,820 runs seeing him awarded player of the year and Carl Hooper and Mark Chiltern were influential in the team’s success.
However, Lancashire remain one of the most popular sides, as well as the most successful county side. In 2006, they were runners up to Sussex in the County Championship and 2007 saw them finish 3rd. With players like Andrew Flintoff now appearing for the team fairly regularly, hope springs eternal that the County Champion position is within their reach.
Lancashire County Cricket Club
Old Trafford Cricket Ground
- Tel: 0161 282 4000 (General Enquiries)
- Ticket Booking Line (24 hours): 08 444 999 666
- Tickets and Membership: 0161 282 4040
- Web: Lancashire CCC
Old Trafford is easily accessible by public transport with a metro stop just next to the venue. Catch the tram for Altrincham and alight at Old Trafford. If coming by train, the tram can be caught from either Manchester Piccadilly or Victoria stations.
Bus services run to Chester Road, a five minute walk from Old Trafford, and Talbot Road, which is opposite the ground. For Chester Road take 114, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 257, 263, 264 or for Talbot Road, 17 and 115.
By car, Old Trafford is most easily reached via the M60 ring road. From the M60, join the M602 at junction 12 towards Salford. Exit at junction 3, following signs for the A5063 Salford Quays/Trafford Park. Take the A5063 and follow signs to Old Trafford Cricket Ground.
From the south exit, the M6 at junction 19 and take the A556. Join the M56 at junction 7. At the end of the M56, join the left hand lane and take the M60 ring road. Exit at junction 7 and take the A56 Stetford. Follow signs for the Old Trafford Cricket Ground.