As you are probably aware the Lancashire Board are looking at using Sedbergh again as an outground for next years Championship game(s) putting it ahead of the likes of grounds in Lancashire such as Blackpool, Southport & Liverpool. Rather than force a Special General Meeting at this stage (we will get the 100 members names required) we have written the below open letter to the Board requesting they reconsider using common sense and logic regarding this issue. If you were a member last season and support the proposal please email us confidentially with your name and if possible membership number to - firstname.lastname@example.org, or direct message us on facebook, twitter or through our website at www.lancsactiongroup.com. Let us hope the Board see sense on this matter.
We wholeheartedly support the interests of cricket in Lancashire, a glorious county that has around 300 cricket clubs, ranging from the village green to leagues that are amongst the highest-ranked in the entire country.
However, if Sedbergh is awarded a first-class fixture AGAIN the clamour for an SGM would be hard to stop, and we already have the member numbers who would be able – and willing – to do that right now.
Surely, there are some grounds in Lancashire that could become permanent outgrounds as opposed to fans having to travel to another county?
Heading a very experienced business board as you do, surely any serious county cricket executive would have, and should have, taken measures by way of leadership to secure outground provisions.
Just how has Lancashire cricket club managed to get itself into such a position when they are surely well aware of all the clubs, large and small, in the county? Did you not see any early warning signs? Has somebody fallen asleep on the job?
Of course, there are three outgrounds that stand out from the rest – Blackpool, Liverpool and Southport. You will not need reminding that one of these grounds, Liverpool, virtually assured our first county championship for 77 years in 2011.
The other two are prime seaside resorts that would ensure very decent crowds to watch county cricket. Indeed, many of the other 17 counties would give their right arm to have such opportunities.
So can you tell us exactly why are we are not trying to ensure that any deficiencies they allegedly have – lack of a full-time groundsman at Southport and lack of suitable drainage at Blackpool – are not put right.
Instead, the club appears to be wasting money on an albeit picturesque ground outside Lancashire or by creating a new ‘super’ outground, as mentioned by Daniel Gidney at the members’ forum in September?
In an era of vastly-declining county membership and the heavy investment in Old Trafford, we should be also be investing in those outgrounds already equipped to stage first-class fixtures and where our loyal supporters always turn up in numbers.
Having other grounds to play on if Old Trafford is unavailable is, of course, advisable, but the failure to correct any issues at Blackpool and Southport seems like mismanagement on the part of whoever is responsible.
Lancashire are regularly promoting cricket around our county, but yet seem happy to play one of the few matches staged outside Old Trafford in another county.
The considerable costs of playing at Sedbergh is ‘dead money’ and we have been advised that putting on coaches and mini-buses to ferry supporters to the ground cost many thousands of pounds. A significant amount of Lancashire supporters had to leave the game early this year to get home because of the lack of infrastructure in the area. The ground is in the middle of nowhere for goodness sake!
It alienates the vast majority of Lancashire supporters and is tempting fate playing at a ground which has one of the highest annual rainfall levels in the country which is far higher (46%) than Blackpool and Liverpool & (35%) than Southport. Sedbergh also has significant drainage problems. In recent years there have been a number of minor counties games abandoned and only this year a three-day Minor Counties fixture in the high summer of August saw no play whatsoever, and had to be moved to nearby Netherfield, in Kendal, where all the officials were staying anyway to stage a one-day match!
As we have stated, we are 100 per cent behind Lancashire and it’s time you listened to what the REAL fans are saying.
It’s never too late to change tack and give the supporters what they want on our rightful return to County Championship’s First Division.
Lancashire Action Group