Liverpool

Aigburth ground prepares for season as Lancashire base

Terry Glover rolling a wicket infront of Liverpool Cricket Club
Image caption Terry Glover has been a groundsman at Liverpool Cricket Club for 22 years

Final checks are being made at Liverpool Cricket Club (LCC) as the Aigburth ground prepares to become Lancashire's main base for 2011.

The county's main Old Trafford ground is being redeveloped.

Lancashire will play five of their four-day County Championship games at the south Liverpool venue.

Crowds of up to 5,000 are expected for the visit of Yorkshire in May. Local businesses are hoping cricket fans will boost trade.

Liverpool Cricket Club was founded in 1807 and is the oldest amateur sporting establishment in Merseyside. It has played host to famous cricketers such as WG Grace and Wasim Akrim.

'Top class wicket'

Head groundsman Terry Glover has worked at the venue for 22 years and has been preparing the pitches since last October.

"It's important to keep the wickets and grounds dry," he said.

"We're preparing four wickets in total, two for the first game, one for the second and a training wicket.

"It takes about a month to fertilise, seed and roll each wicket. When Lancashire come here they know they will get a top class wicket.

"When the match is on we will be on hand if a stump breaks, a side screen needs moving or we need to set up a throw down net."

'Great for business'

Tom Burgess works in a bar next to the ground and says the extra matches should be a boost for local businesses.

"Once the game finishes they all pile in here, the place will be full," he explained.

"Lots of visitors stay at the local hotel. We are going to do breakfast for these games to try and bring people in earlier."

Image caption Local businesswoman Jackie McNamara thinks the games will be great for business

Jackie McNamara, owner of a nearby hairdressing salon is also hoping to take advantage of the rise in visitors.

"It's great for business to have these big games in the area.

"We are hoping to raise awareness of the salon with all the people passing and hopefully some people will come in," she said.

"Local people should embrace the opportunities the games will bring."

Laurie Brown who also works at the salon said: "It's not just men that go to the games.

"Women go as well and I've had some come over from the hotel to get their hair done. We hope to be really busy."

Philip Dunkley, LCC grounds chairman has been playing at the club since 1967.

"It's been hard work getting ready but it is a great honour for the local community to host Lancashire, we are delighted,"

LCC will host Lancashire's championship games against Sussex, Somerset, Yorkshire, Durham and Warwickshire. Southport and Birkdale will hold the home game against Nottinghamshire.

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