We will be looking back over some great Lancashire games throughout this 150th anniversary year, and Graham Hardcastle starts this series with three memorable matches.
1865 - Lancashire v Middlesex, first-class match
Although the first ever match played by Lancashire was against Birkenhead Park, the oldest club in Cheshire, at the Arpley Ground in Warrington in 1864, the clash with Middlesex was the county’s maiden first-class fixture.
Just concentrating on the Birkenhead Park clash for a moment, Lancashire were bowled out for 169 in their first innings before Benjamin Lawrence, who had hit 45 in that innings to go alongside James Rowley’s 57, took eight wickets as Birkenhead Park were bowled out for 143.
Although Lancashire were bowled out for just 78 in their second innings, the Wirral side could not force victory on the second day as they were on 90-1 and 15 runs short of victory when play ended. The two sides met again a month later in Birkenhead, with that fixture also a draw.
Back to the Middlesex game, however, between July 21-23 at Old Trafford.
Lancashire had to survive a superb second-innings display with the ball from Middlesex captain Edward Walker, who took 10-104 bowling slow underarm lobs. Incredibly, he had not bowled a ball in the home side’s first innings.
Both sides made 243 in their first innings before Walker became the first man in county cricket to take all ten wickets in an innings as the hosts were bowled out for 178.
Roger Iddison, who switched between playing for Lancashire and Yorkshire at the time, then steered the hosts to victory with 5-45 as Middlesex were bowled out for just 116, securing a 62-run win.
Lancashire’s team included eight amateurs and three professionals - all born outside the county. It is thought that 300-400 people attended, although gate receipts only totalled £25.
1895 - Somerset v Lancashire, County Championship
Archie MacLaren, a powerfully built opening batsman, scored an incredible 424 as Lancashire beat Somerset at Taunton by an innings and 452 runs in July.
MacLaren entered the record books for the highest individual score in first-class cricket, a record standing until 1923 when Australian Bill Ponsford scored 429 for Victoria against Tasmania at the MCG.
MacLaren still maintained the record for the highest score in county cricket for 99 years until 1994 when West Indian Brian Lara scored 501 for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston.
After sharing a first-wicket stand of 141 with Albert Ward, captain MacLaren shared 363 for the second wicket with Arthur Paul, who made 177. It meant that Lancashire closed day one on 555-3, with MacLaren on 289.
He added a further 135 runs on day two before Somerset were bowled out for 143 and 206. The slow left-arm of Johnny Briggs and the right-arm seam of Arthur Mold claimed 18 wickets between them. Both claimed four in the first innings and five in the second.
MacLaren, who batted for seven hours and 50 minutes and hit 62 fours and a six, scored more runs on his own in the one innings than Somerset’s team mustered in two innings, and the margin of victory remains Lancashire’s biggest.
1932 - Yorkshire v Lancashire, County Championship
Yorkshire really were a force to be reckoned with through the 1930s, so to beat them so comprehensively in a low-scoring affair at Bradford Park Avenue in May on the way to eight Championship victories was a special achievement.
In the new book, 150 Years of Lancashire Cricket, co-author Paul Edwards wrote that Paynter produced “one of his greatest innings on a difficult pitch”.
The great slow left-armer Hedley Verity took 8-107 for Yorkshire, but they were never at the races in their reply as versatile Oldham-born bowler Frank Sibbles, who could bowl seamers or off-spin, took an incredible 7-10 from 20.4 overs to bowl the hosts out for just 46.
Sibbles also claimed five wickets in the second innings (5-58 from 27 overs) as the hosts were bowled out for 167, meaning Lancashire won by an innings and 50 runs.
Yorkshire went on to win the title, their second of seven crowns in nine years while Lancashire finished sixth for the second season running under Eckersley.
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