Championship cricket comes back to Southport

A return to Southport, and a surprise County Championship match at Old Trafford, were the highlights of Lancashire’s 2011 programme when it was unveiled with the anticipated accent on Liverpool.

Following the rotation of the Old Trafford square from east-west to north-south, five of the county’s home Championship fixtures will be played at Aigburth, allowing the new pitches in Manchester to bed in.

That means an historic Roses Match on Merseyside in May – the first time Yorkshire will ever have played a Championship match in Lancashire away from Old Trafford.

But Lancashire will play their last home game of the season, against Hampshire in September, at their Manchester headquarters, with chief executive Jim Cumbes explaining that they plan to use the one-day international pitch.

Old Trafford will stage a 50-over match between England and Sri Lanka in July, and one of the Twenty20 internationals against India in August, in addition to all Lancashire’s t20 and CB40 fixtures – many of which will be played at night with new permanent floodlights to be installed as another part of the £32m redevelopment.

The champions, Nottinghamshire, will be the visitors for the first senior match in Southport since 1999, when Lancashire lost to Warwickshire despite 14 wickets for Muttiah Muralitharan.

It will be the sixth time Notts have played a Championship match at the atmospheric Trafalgar Road ground adjoined by a railway track. The others were in 1960, 1961, 1968 – when Notts were all out for 93 in their first innings, only for Garry Sobers to set up an unlikely 56-run win – 1986 and 1990.

Mick Newell, the current Notts director of cricket, played in the 1986 fixture, which was drawn despite 10 wickets in the match for Eddie Hemmings.

Lancashire won the last Championship clash between the counties at Trafalgar Road, with 180 from Gehan Mendis establishing the platform for a seven-wicket win.

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