An English cricket club that was founded in 1905 has been banned from hosting men’s cricket after neighbours complained about balls landing in their backyard and on their roof.
As first reported by The Telegraph, Colehill Cricket Club was informed in December that its home ground near Wimborne, Dorset could only host under-15 matches following complaints from neighbours.
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“In recent years it has become apparent that the risks of ball strikes at Colehill were increasing and that we need to take action to mitigate the risks involved,” the Colehill Sports & Social Club committee said in a statement.
“We have carried out various activities to mitigate any risk including the moving of pitches to one side of the square and by imposing a rule that any ball hit over the fence would result in a dot ball rather than a six.
“Our insurance premiums have more than trebled in the last three years and it is becoming more difficult to source the type of insurance we need.
“We don’t believe it is viable to continue with adult cricket and face constant complaints and claims from those neighbours who choose not to embrace us.”
In response, Colehill CC captain George Taylor started a petition to “Save Cricket in Colehill”, which garnered more than 29,000 signatures.
“The committee were just unable to manage the situation and buckled under pressure. They have not been able to find a middle ground for everyone and instead taken the easy option of banning adult cricket despite 100 years of history,” Taylor told The Telegraph.
“There is low risk. We have not had one serious incident in the time I have been playing at the club, which is ten years as captain and 13-14 years as a player. Once a garage window was smashed but the neighbour was supportive of cricket and fetched from the ball from her garage and gave it back to us. We got it repaired and there were no issues.
“We are a social team. It is not a good standard. It is village cricket. We will try to keep the team going but how long it will last? The closest adult ground is three miles down the road, outside the village, so we will lose the village ties. There are so many downsides to moving away and we will die a death quickly without that base.”
Colehill Cricket Club’s plight quickly caught the attention of England Test captain Ben Stokes, who tweeted on Wednesday: “Checked to see if it was April 1st … it’s not so means this is real.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan posted: “What an utter joke … you buy a house next to a cricket ground … what do you expect?”
British television personality Piers Morgan tweeted: “Imagine buying a house bordering a cricket ground then moaning about the odd flying ball? These pathetic homeowners should be told to stick their complaints up their whiny killjoy backsides.”
The Colehill Sports & Social Club committee relented on Thursday, allowing the cricket team to continue playing at the venue if they raise the £35,000 (AUD$61,635) required to pay for netting that protected the neighbouring properties.
“Neighbours previously unaware of just how valuable the cricket heritage of the village was to the community were given a clear insight into how much it meant. As a result some have now come forward with sizeable offers to cover a portion of the cost of netting,” Colehill CC said in a statement.
“With this in mind the committee have reversed their decision to end adult cricket providing the funds be raised and logistics met to erect the netting required to ensure adult cricket at the ground can continue safely.”
On Wednesday, Taylor started a crowd-funding campaign that has already raised £8537 (AUD$15,038), about 24 per cent of the target.
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