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Last Updated: Monday, 15 August 2005, 10:49 GMT 11:49 UK
Crowds flock to third Test climax
Huge crowds at Old Trafford
It was like Wimbledon with queues of fans all over the place
Lancs chief Jim Cumbes
More than 10,000 people missed out on the chance to watch the final day of the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford.

Many queued up overnight for the chance to buy tickets and Lancashire chief executive Jim Cumbes said: "I've never seen anything like it."

The England and Wales Cricket Board tried to compensate those turned away by setting up a giant TV screen in the city centre.

But the idea was blocked by local police on safety grounds.

Tickets were priced at 10 for adults and 5 for children, with most hoping to cheer England on to victory against Australia during a tense final day of the third Test.

Ultimately, those lucky enough to enter the ground saw their hopes dashed as Australia held out for a draw.

There were reports before the game that touts were selling tickets for between 100 and 180 each.

Half an hour before the 10.30am start, Lancashire confirmed all 19,000 seats available had been sold and were advising people not to come to the ground.

The scenes outside were described as "phenomenal" by the club's marketing manager, Geoff Durbin.

"The only disappointment is that we have had to lock the gates and turn away so many people.

"It's unbelievable the heights cricket can reach - at the moment it's even putting soccer in the shade.

"It was difficult to plan for the fifth day.

"We just didn't know how the match was going to turn out, but we worked hard last night to make as many arrangements as possible," he said.

Crowds at Old Trafford
Young and old alike have been captivated by the Ashes

Some had travelled long distances of hope of watching the action, only to find they had done so in vain.

"Absolutely gutted. A four-and-a-half hour journey up here after leaving London at 5.00am only to be told by a policeman there's no point in queuing up," said Dan W in a text message to BBC Sport.

Others were not impressed with the way things had been organised.

"There were absolutely no stewarding arrangements for the very large queue which organised itself very well until for no apparent reason there was a sudden rush at the gates.

"Those of us who had been queuing very patiently lost out and found ourselves at the back of what was almost a scrum," said Anna Smart from Altrincham.

"We knew there was always a chance that we might not get in but we felt that it was particularly unfair for it to happen in that way.

"Lancashire must have known what was likely to happen; there are a lot of very disgruntled people, particularly younger people, who feel that they lost out unfairly."

Despite that, the huge interest in the game has been good news for Lancashire.

"We've had more than 115,000 coming through the gates for this match, it's just astounding," Cumbes commented.

"Manchester United had a winning start to the Premiership on Saturday, but all anyone wants to talk about around here is cricket and this match."

Meanwhile, Essex have announced that their two-day tour match with the Australians on 3-4 September is a complete sell-out.


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