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New look Old Trafford gives different view but to same enemy

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Written by : published Wednesday 27th April 2011

New look Old Trafford gives different view but to same enemy main image

Sunday saw the start of a new era at Old Trafford cricket ground when the Lancashire Lightning faced the ECB Unicorns in the Clydesdale Bank 40.

The 40-over competition was the first competitive game in which the bowlers ran in from the pavilion, after the Old Trafford wicket was turned 90 degrees during the winter.

This was part of the £70 million redevelopment of the ground which Lancashire County Cricket Club chiefs hope will bring back test match cricket to the area, with the aim an Ashes test as part of the 2013 series against Australia.

Now batsmen will be facing the likes of Glen Chapple, Sajid Mahmood and James Anderson with the backdrop of Old Trafford’s grand pavilion behind them.

For the first time in the ground’s 150-year history, players were able to watch a competitive match from behind the bowler’s arm on the home balcony.

Club captain Chapple admitted it was a strange feeling on Sunday, saying: “It was like playing on a new ground.”

However, it is not just the players who have to adjust; the fans do too – especially the members.

Whereas they would usually sit in the main pavilion seats, due to the need for a sight screen, a huge black cloth has had to be draped from the first balcony to the bottom tier as a make-shift sighting aid.

This means only a few members can squeeze into the coveted pavilion seating without obstructing the batsman’s view.

If that hasn’t already produced grumbles of discontent from diehard members, the top balcony, that accommodates the majority of members’ seating, is also out of bounds. This due to the need for a temporary camera gantry, Sky Television anchor box and commentary room.

Although it seems that strides are being taken in the right direction, Derwent Holdings, who have had a long-standing feud with the redevelopment scheme after having their own plans quashed, have once again thrown a spanner into the works.

Chief Executive, Jim Cumbes, said: “Despite being defeated emphatically in the High Court, and being refused leave to appeal by the High Court judge only last week, Derwent has announced its intent to try and over-turn the High Court judgement at the Court of Appeal in London. We have now been forced to take the unprecedented action of cancelling our proposed AGM, pending the outcome of this latest legal threat.

“Derwent have made so many attempts to derail our project and have been thwarted convincingly at every stage. We remain totally confident that, although they will attempt absolutely everything due to seemingly unlimited financial resources, that we shall succeed eventually.

“We promised that we will secure a new international cricket ground and bring huge benefits to both the local and regional community and economy. We’ve been supported on our long journey by Trafford Council, by councils across Greater Manchester and by the wider business community.”

Although beaten on every single issue that they have brought up, on every level of objection and on every single pretentious little argument, Derwent seem adamant that they will do ‘good’ eventually, like a painfully awful auditionee on Britain’s Got Talent.

Everyone associated with Lancashire County Cricket Club presses their buzzers at Derwent’s latest legal failure. Next Please.

About the author Joe Smith

Joe Smith

My name is Joe Smith and I currently attend the University of Huddersfield in Yorkshire, England. I am in the first year of a Sports Journalism BA Hons degree with a view to becoming a professional sports journalist at a national newspaper. I help with the running of Caistor Town Cricket Club's website and also contribute to WriteAngleMedia, a company associated with various midalnds-based newspapers, reporting on semi-professional (non-league) football matches. My top three sports are cricket, football and tennis, closely followed by rugby league. I follow many sports teams, but  my favoured clubs are: Grimsby Town (football/soccer), Lancashire County Cricket Club and Huddersfield Giants (rugby league).

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