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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Cricket teams to play inside Lake District mountain

Two village cricket teams are preparing to battle it out – deep inside a Lake District mountain.

Jan Wilkinson photo
Jan Wilkinson

In a world first, Honister Slate Mine is set to host a cricket match tomorrow morning.

Wickets will be pitched in a cavern 2,000ft underground.

Threlkeld, who have been searching for a new ground since they were flooded out 18 months ago, will take on Caldbeck for the trophy made of slate from the mine.

Michael Webster, Threlkeld club treasurer, came up with the idea and is delighted the game is finally going ahead after it was postponed two years ago.

He said: “The cavern is ready, the lights are on and nothing is going to stop the world’s first game of underground cricket, though testing out our skills in extreme locations for the past 12 months to make our fundraising calendar, does not guarantee us an advantage underground.”

Jan Wilkinson, owner of Honister Slate Mine, said: “When we heard Michael’s idea we were bowled over.

“But we’re used to pushing the boundaries at Honister so it’s game on and cricket like you’ve never seen it before.”

It isn’t the first extreme cricket match to take place in Cumbria.

Threlkeld beat Braithwaite by seven runs in a game held on Latrigg Fell on Boxing Day 2010. Threlkeld have also played on a frozen wicket at Sprinkling Tarn, on a disused railway at Mosedale Viaduct, on a crag and on an island in the middle of Derwentwater.

The village team has even played on a steam engine, in the Market Square in Keswick, on stage at the Theatre by the Lake and, perhaps most extreme, underwater in the River Derwent.

Tomorrow’s fixture gets underway at 11am and players include farmers, shopkeepers, and cafe owners.

Honister Slate Mine is a network of 11 miles of underground tunnels inside Fleetwood Pike.

The match will see six overs bowled per innings with each bowler limited to one over each, while batsmen will retire on 25 runs.

There will be no boundaries, batsmen will run after every shot, and if the game ends in a draw it will come down to who has lost the most wickets or a bowl out.

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