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News - 2nd June 2009

This day in 1975 - Snow Stopped Play!

This day in 1975 - Snow Stopped Play!

In 1975 there was an infamous incident when snow stopped play at The Park in a County Championship match involving Derbyshire and Lancashire in June.

Days before the World Cup started, and was blessed by long, hot days and clear evenings, the second day of the Championship tie, June 2, was abandoned when snow covered the whole ground.

Sandwiched in-between the match was a John Player League game on Sunday 1 June. On the last day of May, the Saturday, Bob Taylor (Derbyshire’s captain) lost the toss and proceeded to watch Lancashire rack up 477 runs for the loss of five wickets courtesy of two centuries from Frank Hayes (104) and Clive Lloyd (167 not out). Lloyd in particular was in fine fettle, his unbeaten knock taking a mere 167 minutes. At one stage he hit seven sixes out of 50 runs scored. Derbyshire’s Geoff Miller, who conceded 94 runs from his 14 overs, claimed that a game of bowls had to be abandoned because they were getting peppered with cricket balls. He said, “Clive was hitting it dead straight. It was as if an air-raid warning had gone off.” ‘Dusty’ Rhodes, one of the umpires of the game, was stood 12 feet from the stumps according to Lancashire’s half-centurion Jack Simmons to give himself time to react to Lloyd’s power hitting.

By the end of the day, Derbyshire were 25-2, still more than 450 runs behind their opponents and, after victory in the John Player League game on Sunday 1 June, the hosts returned to the Park on Monday for the second day of the Championship match and were astonished to see an inch of snow covering the ground. The cause, according to the Meteorological Office, had been a depression moving down from the Arctic, bringing very cold air with it. Table 3, below, is a summary of the 1975 summer.

Table 3: A report explaining the geographical factors behind the snow in June 1975 (www.netweather.tv)
Conditions had been miserably cold through much of May 1975, and when June arrived a northerly blast of Arctic air brought a biting frost across Scotland. Early on June 2 the thermometer at Gleneagles, Perthshire, sank to 3.3oC (26oF), a temperature more likely in the depths of winter than early summer. The cold air swept into England and snow fell as far south as East Anglia and London, with sleet reaching Portsmouth. Although the snow quickly melted in the South, it settled on the ground further north.

Famously, snow stopped play at a county cricket match between Derbyshire and Lancashire in Buxton, where snow reached an inch deep. Snow also delayed play between Essex and Kent at Colchester, accompanied by midday temperatures of 2oC (36oF), and John Arlott reported snow at a cricket match at Lord's.  The cold snap lasted a while, with snow lying on the ground for four days in parts of Scotland. But on June 6 the British weather lived up to its fickle reputation, when a heatwave sent temperatures soaring in northeast Scotland to 25oC (77oF).  A gloriously hot summer across Britain followed.

By Tuesday 1 June, the snow was melting fast and with many spectators waiting patiently, umpire Dickie Bird let play continue, despite the uncovered wicket which had been left to the elements. Derbyshire tried to cut the deficit between the scores but, unsurprisingly on a soggy wicket, they came unstuck. With the ball popping, stopping and jumping the home side were skittled for 42 and, after following on, dismissed for 87 to concede one of the biggest defeats in County Championship history by an innings and 348 runs. Lancashire’s quick bowler, Peter Lever, refused to bowl quickly on such a pitch for fear of hitting a batsman but, even off a gentle run-up, he took match figures of 6-34.

Source:  Buxton Cricket Club


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