Lord Sheffield
Lord Sheffield's XI
02:27, Sun Mar 24, 2019 (UTC +0000)


Sheffield Park was a lovely ground inside a private estate, and although it had been used for cricket for more than 30 years when the 3rd Earl of Sheffield inherited it, it was under his stewardship that it prospered. In 1881-82 he built an octagonal pavilion and shortly after a separate pavilion was built for ladies. In 1881 the first first-class match took place between a Lord Sheffield XI and A Shaw's XI - nine matches were hosted in all over the next 15 years. The biggest game - the last - came when Lord Sheffield's XI entertained the touring Australians and more than 25,000 were admitted for free - no-one was ever charged admission. Five of the Australian teams opened their tours there, as did the South African team of 1894.

In 1909 the Earl died and left no heirs but a large debt. The estate passed through several owners before being left to the National Trust, but major cricket died out with the 3rd Earl. The pitch was ploughed up during the Great War, although matches resumed between the wars on a nearby pitch. It finally died out when the grounds were requisitioned during World War Two.

After the war, trees were planted on the site but most were blown down in the 1987 hurricane. In 2009, a new square was laid, a pavilion was built and the outfield was restored in its parkland setting. The reopening of the ground was celebrated with a match between an Old England XI and a Lord Sheffield Australian XI in June 2009. Today, the restored ground is the home of the Armadillo Cricket Club.
Martin Williamson