Houghton Main Cricket Club’s big day at Lord’s became a medical emergency when their player Ian Simon suffered an ‘horrific’ facial injury which put his sight in danger. 

The long-serving opening batsman accidentally hit the ball into his own eye while not wearing a helmet in the National Village Cup final against Reed at the famous stadium in London on Sunday. He is understood to have broken his cheekbone and eyesocket and he underwent an operation to drain blood from the area after being stretchered off and taken to St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington.  He was due to stay in hospital for five days.   

Captain Michael Brown said: “It was horrific.  “Ian stayed conscious the whole time but was clearly in a lot of pain.  There was a lot of concern that there could be blood clots or that he could lose his sight.  We still don’t know what the eventual outcome will be but we all hope he will make a full recovery and be able to play cricket again.

“We have had tens of messages to the club email from cricket fans around the country who were at the game or heard about it.  They are all wishing Ian well and wanting to be kept up to date on his condition.  He’s our longest-serving player and only lives down the road from the ground in Great Houghton.”

Simon’s team-mate Yousaf Rahman, who is a doctor, treated him on the field as well as medical staff who were on duty for the match. Brown said: “Yousaf came up to me and asked if he should go on the field and I told him to get out there straight away. He managed the situation and looked after Ian until the ambulance took him to hospital. It was fortunate that Yousaf was there.”

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Brown admits the injury ‘dampened the occasion’ on what was intended to be one of the biggest days for the club who won the same cup in 2006.  Brown said: “It had a massive impact. Ian is an opening batter and one of our main bowlers so it was a big loss but, more importantly, we were quite shaken by what had happened and worried about him for the rest of the game. It was hard to concentrate on playing cricket after that. We kept hearing rumours about what was happening in hospital.”

Houghton made 160 for eight then Reed won with seven wickets and 83 balls to spare.  Brown said: “We were probably 70 runs short with the bat, whether Ian would have got those we’ll never know.  Reed are a good team and they have just been promoted to the ECB Premier League in their area.  They always looked like chasing that total and it was disappointing to lose in the end.  But it was fantastic, as village cricketers, to play at Lord’s. 

“We were treated like Test players and it was an experience we will always cherish. The facilities, staff, pitch and wicket are all the best we’ve ever experienced at a cricket ground as you would expect from somewhere like Lord’s. It was a great day for the club. We had about 1,500 people there supporting us.”

South Yorkshire Championship club Houghton are hoping to return to the home of cricket next season in the same final. Brown said: “Sunday has just made us even more determined to win it. We have had a taste of it now and we’ll know what is at stake from the first round next year. We will definitely be looking to get back to Lord’s.”