IT is hoped that when the pandemic passes, cricket will return to the steeply sloping pitch behind the Sun Inn at Spout House in Bilsdale. The first recorded match to be played here was on December 29, 1842, and Harry Mead kindly forwards a report of the match from the York Herald of January 7, 1843.

It says: “Cricket Playing. Ingleby Greenhow v Bilsdale. A match of this manly game came off in Bilsdale on Thursday week, between the above clubs, which terminated as follows: Bilsdale First Innings 36. Second ditto 21. Total 57. Ingleby Greenhow First Innings 40. Second Innings 18. Total 58.”

Harry’s only explanation for such a midwinter fixture is that the club was newly formed and the players were brimming with such enthusiasm that they couldn’t wait until spring to strap their pads on and stride to the wicket so they went out that December day. When you are playing on a rocky precipice of a sheep’s field, bad light is probably the least of your worries.