A TEAM of village cricketers in Flintshire braved the icy conditions to stage their club’s first ever Ice Ashes game.

Despite sporting fixtures up and down the country being called off, players from Carmel and District Cricket Club held a special snow cricket international match in the sub-zero temperatures.

Players cleared a foot of snow from the frozen batting strip at the Penygelli ground before taking their places in the teams representing England and Wales.

The appropriately named Stephen Skates, who was named man of the match,  said it was difficult to distinguish the players in their cricket whites from the snowy backdrop.

“We had a rule that if you played more than one defensive shot in the over you could be pelted by snowballs by the fielding team so that, combined with fielders in whites and the slippery ground, meant batting was quite tricky,” he said.

The idea came from Carmel batsman Timothy Abraham who had heard about snow cricket from his friend Angus Bell, author of Batting on the Bosphorus.

Timothy said: “I thought he was joking at first but it turns out he had played matches on frozen lakes and even in a former Soviet missile factory, so I called the Carmel groundsmen to see if we could play our own version.

“After the laughing had eventually died down at the other end of the phone they realised I was serious and fortunately the rest of players at the club were keen to give it a go.”

The 10-over match ended in a dramatic tie as the England team were bowled out for 52 - the same score the Welsh side had made in their innings.

Carmel captain Danny Oliver, who skippered the Welsh team, joked: “There was some talk before the game that the English players had found an Eskimo who was qualified to play snow cricket for them.”

The team is now on the lookout for new players for the summer season. Training starts at Holywell Leisure Centre on Sunday, January 24.

For further details call www.carmelcc.co.uk.