A CRICKET club is planning a new pavilion to replace the “tired old shed” that was originally built as a set for the TV show All Creatures Great and Small.

In the mid-1980s, Spennithorne and Harmby Cricket Club was chosen as the setting for a calamitous match featuring vets James Herriot and Siegfried Farnon.

It offered the right blend of quietness and quaintness for the programme and the only drawback was the scruffy pavilion, so the producers stumped up to fix it.

“I was very impressed by ingenuity of the set designers,” said George Tunstall, a club stalwart who stood as an umpire in the televised match.

“They quickly erected a veranda, and managed to make the façade look authentic and weathered by layering the paint.

“It was a long, hot week, but a lot of fun. I remember we didn’t finish until 10pm one evening, because Robert Hardy refused to come out of the shade.”

However 30 years on there is no need to fake the weathered look so a new, fit-for-purpose pavilion is being planned.

And as part of the club’s fundraising programme, there will be a race night at the Wensleydale Rugby Club from 7pm on April 10. All proceeds to the pavilion fund and entry is £2.

The modern facilities will open a new chapter in the history of the club, which played its first recorded match in 1836.

Cricket enjoyed huge local popularity in the area up to 1914, and the club did not recover from the impact of the Great War until 1936.

When conflict got in the way again, Spennithorne landowner and cricket enthusiast Philip van Straubenzee pledged to build a permanent pitch for the twin villages, if he survived the war.

The future colonel commanded 1st Sierre Leone Regiment with distinction against the Japanese in Burma and was awarded a DSO.

And true to his word, he and his brother Henry, who once played a first class match for Essex, helped the cricket club regroup in 1946. The family also donated an old beach hut from Redcar as a pavilion.

His daughter Henrietta Browne continues the family’s involvement with the club and is delighted with the plans for the pavilion. ‘

“This is such a pretty ground, and a place my father and uncle were extremely fond of,” she said.

“I know that if they were still alive today, they would be in full support of the new plans and cheer the team on loudly from the boundary.”

The club plays Saturday matches in the Nidderdale League and midweek evening matches in the Wensleydale League. Those interested in playing should email jim.lyndsay@virgin.net