CRICKET fans, Sedbergh School representatives and residents of the town have united in expressing their delight after Lancashire County Cricket Club announced that another first team fixture would be held at the venue next summer.

The school staged its maiden first class fixture this summer when Lancashire took on Durham in a County Championship fixture.

And the event's tremendous success has persuaded Old Trafford chiefs to bring the Red Rose county's star studded first team back to South Lakeland in 2020.

This time, the venue will host not one but three games in a festival of cricket.

In the first of that triple header Cumberland, whose heartland of support is in the area where they play regular home fixtures, will take on Lancashire on Friday, July 17.

The game is the inaugural meeting of the two sides in the new National Counties tournament, which replaces the old Minor Counties competition.

Following that comes the main attraction, Lancashire's Royal London Cup showdown against Middlesex, wit the 50 over duel taking place on Sunday, July 19.

And completing the festival is a tie between the Manchester Originals and the Oval Invincibles on Friday, July 24 in the women's version of the new 100 ball per side competition.

“We are delighted here at Sedbergh to be hosting more Lancashire CCC matches next year," said Sedbergh School headmaster Dan Harrison.

"We were thrilled with the successful outcome of the first class match last year and are looking forward to welcoming cricket fans back in July.

"We are especially pleased to be hosting one of the Women’s Hundred match alongside the two other games as part of our festival of cricket.”

When the Durham game was first announced earlier this year, the news was not met with universal approval in the heartland of Lancashire support in the south of the county.

Many expressed concern over the distance they would have to travel, and more diehard elements objected to the Red Rose men playing a home game in a town which was historically situated in Yorkshire.

However, the success of the Durham game has won most fans over, and Lancashire CCC director of cricket Paul Allott said everyone at Old Trafford was delighted to be able to take another first team fixture to Sedbergh.

“Sedbergh School’s hosting of the four day fixture against Durham last year has encouraged the county to return for a 50 over game in 2020.”

And Cllr Kevin Lancaster, who represents the area on South Lakeland District Council, said the cricket festival would provide a great boost for the area.

"I'm absolutely delighted and it's great news for Sedbergh," he said.

"Last year was such a fantastic success.

"The weather was perfect and it just could not have gone better.

"Sedbergh was full of people and so may local businesses were busy all week.

"But more importantly, a lot of people not only came back after seeing what Sedbergh had to offer but also spread the work and we had a lot of repeat visits from people who had come to see the cricket."