Snow stopped play
11th June, 2015
Avid cricket fans will be well aware that there is just under a month to go until the Ashes get underway and England face the ‘old enemy’ Australia at Cardiff's SWALEC stadium. Fans of both teams will be hoping that the British weather stays fine across the five tests and that there is plenty of play. After all, despite being a summer sport, cricket fans are accustomed to the sight of the covers coming onto the pitch during a rain delay.
One thing that cricket fans aren't accustomed to is snow stopping play, but that is exactly what happened almost exactly 40 years ago. The match between Lancashire and Derbyshire was being played at Buxton and the result saw Derbyshire on the receiving end of one of the heaviest thrashings in County Championship history - beaten by an innings and 348 runs. Thankfully for them, the game will be remembered for an entirely different reason.
- On a gloriously sunny Saturday, Lancashire posted 477-5. Derbyshire reached the close of the first day on 25-2.
- There was no action on the Sunday.
- Six inches of snow overnight forced Monday's play to be abandoned.
- An overnight thaw allowed play to resume on the Tuesday, with Derbyshire bowled out for just 42 and forced to follow on. On heavily snow-affected pitch, they crumpled in their second innings to 87 all out, giving Lancashire a huge win.
Legendary umpire Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird was umpiring that day and he remembers well the bizarre scenes that greeted him on the Monday morning:
“I've never seen anything like it during my 50-year involvement in cricket. I've seen plenty of games affected by rain and bad light in my time, but never snow.
Saturday had been marvellous, a beautiful scorching day, and there had been a good crowd up at Buxton. But now there was snow everywhere, six inches in some places. I could hardly believe my eyes. I thought ‘good God’.
It was impossible to play, and the match was abandoned for the day. It was amazing to see, and something that I will always remember. But then on the Tuesday, the sun shone, and we went on to have the best summer we had ever had.”
Balmy June Weather
The events of that Monday were the time first time snow and sleet had been reported so far south during a British summer since 1888. Scattered sleet and snow showers were seen across the Midlands and East Anglia, with the odd wintery shower even seen as far south as London.
Despite snow in June being a very rare occurrence, Mother Nature defied the odds once again ten years later as sleet showers fell on Birmingham Airport. More recently there were a few snow flurries in June 2009, but nothing compares to that day in 1975.