Cow Corner

Trouble at mill

Cow Corner

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After what has seemed like a decade of consultations and committee meetings, Lancashire CCC have finally unveiled their futuristic plans for their 151-year-old ground, Old Trafford — and the county are promising to put the "wow factor" back into English Test grounds.

The proposed £70m refit will include two new grandstands, a redesigned pavilion, a capacity 25,000 with temporary seating for international cricket, permanent floodlights, a state-of-the-art scoreboard with replay screen and a 200 bedroom hotel.

It also features what can only be described as a number of prefabs on stilts, perched ominously over the top of the crowd, which appear to be just waiting for a huge gust of autumn wind to come howling over the Pennines and bring the ugly constructions toppling down on top of several thousand unwitting flat-capped gentlemen and their sons.

What the new Old Trafford does not feature is any great covering for the spectators, which is baffling for a county that has repeatedly blamed its palpable lack of recent Championship success on the near continuous rain that has fallen on Manchester since 1934 — the last time they won the competition outright.

Meanwhile, former Lancashire favourite Mike Atherton has raised a few heckles "oop north" after he criticised the Red Rose county's selection policy over the last few years, saying they played too many old and overseas players in preference of local youngsters.

"He just talks a load of rubbish at times," fired back all-rounder Glen Chapple. "I did read it, but I don't often read what he writes. I did yesterday. I don't think ex-players should talk like that, they should think a bit more. I think he is wrong."

Current Lancashire captain Stuart Law added: "For a guy who hasn't been back to the dressing room since he left, how much passion has he got for the club? Why should he be saying all these things? It is a shame. He is a nice guy, and what have you. But he is disrespecting us by saying bad things in the press."

With Lancashire teetering on the brink of relegation in to the second division of the Championship, they are in danger of becoming the county equivalent of Newcastle United.


With the County Championship in its final round, and plenty to play for at both ends of the table, we have selected our Championship XI from the pick of the performers of the summer.

Stephen Moore: 1288 runs @ 53.66: Leading run-scorer in first-class this season, including five Championship centuries.

Marcus Trescothick: 1239 runs @ 47.65: Problems behind him, he is enjoying the game and scoring runs by the bucket-load.

Mark Ramprakash: 1235 runs @ 61.75:
Had to wait ten innings for his 100th hundred - but then rattled off four centuries in five innings.

Jonathan Trot:
1233 runs @ 64.89: Three centuries in a stand-out season, helping Warwickshire to the second division title

Vikram Solanki 1127 runs @ 46.95:
A leading player in Worcestershire's promotion bid with four centuries, including a career-best 270 against Gloucestershire.

Ravi Bopara: 1146 runs @ 67.41 and 24 wickets @ 28.83:
A class above in Division Two for Essex and a season that has seen him work his way back into England contention

Matt Prior: 899 runs @ 56.18:
Bounced back superbly from his England rejection

Adil Rashid: 53 wickets @ 32.24:
The leading spinner in the first-class season and contributed at times with the bat, too

Kabir Ali: 59 wickets @ 18.74:
England can't ignore his Test claims much longer.

James Tomlinson: 67 wickets @ 24.04:
Hampshire's left-arm seamer has gone from a "who?" to a "woah" in the course of six months.

Steve Harmison: 53 wickets @ 22.52:
Clearly enjoys playing for his county, and gave Durham a cutting edge.


COMING UP: The third day of the final round of County Championship fixtures

TALKING POINT: Your stand-out players from the summer of 2008

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