ON the sort of afternoon that might better have been suited to Winter Olympics, cricket returned last Sunday to Ingleton.

In the village between Darlington and Barnard Castle they’d last played nine years ago. First there’d been two teams, then they shared the ground with Heighington – a few miles east – then amalgamated, then there was one team and then there were none. The story seemed sadly familiar.

Now the cricket field will be home to King James I CC, originally based in Bishop Auckland, with hopes that interest in the village itself might be rekindled.

“It’s great to be here,” said King James chairman David James. “I’m one of those who believes that a village isn’t a village without a cricket team.”

Might they merge, Kingleton perhaps? “I don’t think so,” said David, perishing the thought.

The pavilion had been used for everything from craft classes to parish council meetings. The parish council won a £10,000 Big Lottery grant to restore the wicket, improve the facilities and provide outdoor exercise equipment.

“It’s about building community. We’re delighted to have the cricket field back in use,” said parish councillor and former village school head Judith Pressley.

“It’s a shame we couldn’t have used some of the £10,000 to buy a patio heater,” said a frozen spectator. The views across Teesdale were lovely, though.

Ingleton had baked and better baked, a tea fit for King James. The road at the ground entrance is called The Nursery End. The Nursery End, appropriately, had what cricketers call a cradle.

Ken Gamack, 64, had played in the village team, lived out the back, been entrusted with reviving the wicket – “came down last back end, took the top off, put some loam on, re-seeded it” – and was now back in his whites, playing for a “village” team against their tenants.

Could the village again have its own team? “It’s really up to the young uns,” said Ken. “You can’t get them interested these days.”

King James’s first Darlington and District League fixture at their new home will be against Middleton Tyas this afternoon – weather permitting, of course.

….and finally, the column two weeks ago invited the identity of the football club which had spent longest in the English top flight without once winning the thing. It’s Bolton Wanderers.

Phil Chinery today invites readers to suggest why FIFA has a special rule regarding penalty kicks on the Faroe Islands.

More Faroe stories next week.