Set on the outskirts of Bath, Lansdown Cricket Club founded in 1825 played host to Highbridge Walking Cricket Hub for the inaugural Outdoor Walking Cricket fixture. For those who have not visited the ground it is an idyllic oasis in the city surrounded by trees and looking picture postcard perfect. The pitch looked perfect having been prepared by Grounds person Jim McGill with the same diligence as at the County ground.

A warm welcome

After the pre match teas and coffees on arrival. It was time for the obligatory team photographs. Highbridge were warmly welcomed by David Dolman and the Lansdown team, together with the largest crowd we have ever had watching us, whether they were there for the sunny weather, the gossip, the bar or whatever who knows? But they were very supportive and seemed to have an enjoyable time and joined in with the banter.

Match report:

The Captains Steve Lamble (Lansdown Cricket Club) and Mark Banczyk-Gee (Highbridge Walking Cricket Hub) tossed the coin and Highbridge won and put Lansdown Cricket Club into bat.

The format of the game was twelve a side of six pairs of batters, with each batter facing one over each. Ten fielders, each bowler bowling one eight ball over and two players off the field for each over. Wooden bats were used with a selection of iconic brands to choose from, and the game was played with a full size red incrediball.

The scene was set for a great game of Cricket, the crowd increased as workers from the nearby Royal United Hospital enjoyed the Cricket and the sunshine during their breaks in this highly anticipated fixture.

Lansdown Cricket Club kept everyone up to date via the electronic scoreboard and thanks must go to Scorer Andy Kerr for his sterling work. Highbridge made a steady start after the first ball went for a wide! With two runs off the over and a wicket taken, runs were hard to come by with only seventeen runs off the first four over for the loss of two wickets. The next four overs saw thirty-one runs scored with another two wickets falling, taking the total to 48 – 4. The final four overs, forty-three runs scored with four wickets falling. Final score was 91-8 but as you lose five runs for each wicket the net score was 51-8.

Highbridge then batted with the openers making thirty-four runs for no wicket off their allotted overs, at 4 overs Highbridge were 57-1. The next four overs thirty-three runs were added for the loss of three wickets taking the total to 90-3. The final four overs the batters consolidated taking the score to 105 for the loss of one more wicket.

Final score was 105-3 giving net score of 85-3. Highbridge winning by thirty-four runs.

With gratitude-post match

After the match everyone retired to the clubhouse for a well-deserved and plentiful lunch and liquid refreshment!  Lesley Park, the first female President of Lansdown CC then gave a short address of the history of the club and how exciting it was to have the first ever walking cricket match at the club and welcomed the Highbridge Team and Mustafa Shaikh from the Somerset Cricket Foundation to the Club and thanked everyone for making this a memorable event.

Mark Berry responded on behalf of the Highbridge Hub saying as we were formed in 2023, we have a bit of catching up to do on the historical front. He thanked them for the very warm welcome. a great game of cricket in superb surroundings and played in a relaxed friendly manner with good humour from both sides and looked forward to the return match when Lansdown Cricket Club visit the newly formed Huntspill Outdoor Walking Cricket Hub.

Mustafa Shaikh on behalf of the Somerset Cricket Foundation thanked all those present for a wonderful day and for Lesley Park’s warm welcome. He reminisced about his own playing days at the club and its connection with his cricketing hero Sir Viv Richards. He placed on record his appreciation for David Dolman in sharing his Club hub concept for walking cricket following a visit from Jon Bendle Managing Director from the Somerset Cricket Foundation last year. Mustafa visited David and the group following this visit and wrote up a case study. This has been shared widely within the walking cricket community in Somerset and further afield as exemplar of what can be achieved.

Mustafa also thanked volunteers Mark Berry and Mark Banczyk Gee from Highbridge and all the other lead volunteers who are really driving forward walking cricket in Somerset. We now have eight Indoor hubs evolving and three club hubs across Somerset and with continued networking hope to develop more. He emphasized what a tremendous impact walking cricket (indoors and outdoors) is having on people’s lives socially, physically, mentally, and emotionally and events like today will hopefully become a normal feature of club and community life– it was a real honour and privilege to be associated with everyone here today.