Lancs' Return Evokes Memories
As Lancashire prepare to play at Southport, Paul Edwards recalls a great game from Trafalgar Road.
Lancashire have played 39 first-class matches at Trafalgar Road since they first arrived to play Worcestershire in 1959 and excitement has been building in the town's cricket community in anticipation of the four-day LV= Division One game against Nottinghamshire which starts on Tuesday.
However, only the most optimistic of spectators will expect the level of entertainment provided by Lancashire and Warwickshire in the famous match which took place in 1982.
Accounts of the game have been much anthologised and it is not hard to see why. Having seen the visitors score 523 for four declared on the first day, Clive Lloyd's Lancashire batsmen responded with 414 for six declared, bowled Warwickshire out for 111 in their second innings and won by ten wickets with bags of time to spare on the third evening.
There seemed to be as many records broken as there were spectators in the ground, and Trafalgar Road was packed on all three days of the match. For example, Alvin Kallicharran and Geoff Humpage broke the fourth-wicket partnership record in English cricket with their stand of 470 on the first day; Humpage hit 13 sixes, then a record for this country.
Lancashire's Graeme Fowler scored a century in each innings and did so both times with a runner. And so it went on, a classic example of county cricket at its very best.
Remarkably, one player from each side still lives within a few miles of Trafalgar Road. Lancashire's Ian Cockbain went on to captain Firwood Bootle to many successes, while Warwickshire's Simon Sutcliffe, the son of the former S&B skipper Peter Sutcliffe, went on to lead the club to the Liverpool Competion title in 1996 and now teaches at Merchant Taylors' School, Crosby.
Both men have good reasons to remember the 1982 epic.
"I remember I got 98," said Cockbain. 'It was my highest first-class score and when I came in at tea, everyone was congratulating me on my first hundred for Lancashire. I said: "Hang on, I haven't got it yet."
'Sure enough, a few overs later Alvin Kallicharran came on to bowl his flat off-spin, I edged him and was caught at leg slip by Dennis Amiss, who hardly clung on to a slip catch in his life."
"The atmosphere was electric, though," he added. "The ground was crammed full and you always get a better atmosphere at outgrounds because people are right on top of you. Southport's a fabulous place to play cricket and I'm delighted Lancashire are going back there."
"It was a great thrill for me to play on Trafalgar Road because S&B was the club my father had captained," remembered Simon Sutcliffe. "I used to live only 200 yards from the club and there were plenty of old schoolfriends watching the game.
"I thought I bowled well without taking a wicket on that second day and then Alvin Kallicharran came on and took three for 30-odd. It was extremely irritating!
"There was a deathly silence in our dressing room after the game. We didn't dream we could lose. But Southport was a super venue and it still is. I think every county should play at least a couple of games on outgrounds if the wickets are good enough. It gives everyone a chance to come and see top-class cricket."
Adapted from an article originally published in the Southport Visiter