SCARBOROUGH’S historic 125th Cricket Festival began yesterday with fans rekindling memories of the venue’s halcyon days.
The showpiece event opened with a T20 game between former Yorkshire captain David Byas’ XI and a President’s team.
The day proved a hit with fans who soaked up the action and recalled their golden summers at the new-look ground, which underwent a significant redevelopment during the winter with new seating, a refurbished pavilion and toilets.
John Jordan, 76, of St Thomas Street, is a veteran of the Scarborough Cricket Festival fan having watched cricket at the venue for more than 40 years.
Mr Jordan, who is originally from Pontefract, said: “I never miss the Festival and some of the best games I’ve seen here were when the touring teams such as Australia and South Africa played here.
“They had some excellent cricketers and there were always lots of runs scored.
“I think one of the reasons why the ground is so popular with fans is because there is always a great atmosphere and is looks fantastic with all of the changes.
“They have made an absolutely brilliant of maintaining the ground’s character and the pavilion is like a five-star hotel inside.”
Tony Wales, 68, lives on Seamer Road, but books into a guest house close to the ground to fully savour the Festival spectacle.
He added: “When I lived in Selby I used to have my holiday here to coincide with the cricket because its fantastic.
“The ground looks great and I hope they can get three games a year here because people would come to watch.”
Patrick Henry, of Prospect Road, has watched cricket at North Marine Road since 1948, and fondly remembers the era when Australian legend Sir Donald Bradman, Yorkshire stalwart Sir Len Hutton and the great West Indian Sir Garfield Sobers graced the Scarborough pitch.
The 73-year-old said: “It was great when the touring teams came here, they used to call it the Sixth Test and we always had the best in the world here.
“The ground has staged two one-day internationals but it should have had more because the ground is good enough and deserves them.
“The Festival appeals to people in many ways, a lot like the tradition with many also combining the cricket with a good old-fashioned seaside holiday.”
Derek Ogle, 72, of Milton Avenue, has also watched the White Rose team for years at Scarborough.
He recalled one occasion when he couldn’t get into the ground owing to the volume of people who turned up to watch Sir Garfield play for Nottinghamshire at the venue.
The former Scarborough A team player added: “The cricket is always good at Scarborough and the Yorkshire players like it and think they should play more here than at Headingley Carnegie.
“They have made a great job of the changes and the Yorkshire members really like coming here.”
The ground is due to host Yorkshire and Sussex tomorrow in a crucial County Championship Division One relegation battle.