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Author Topic: Lost cricket pitches in Public Parks  (Read 2601 times)

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bradleywiggins123

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Lost cricket pitches in Public Parks
« on: June 06, 2020, 09:01:27 PM »

I appreciate playing numbers have dropped in the last 10/15 years but in my local area(South East Essex) the number of pitches that have been lost at public parks is alarming. At a number of them the squares are still intact and in theory could be revived(how long can a square be left without maintenance and be brought back to life?)but once theyve stopped being used the council have no interest in putting them back into use even if you offer to cover all costs.
Is this a common occurrence in your area?
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SouthpawMark

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Re: Lost cricket pitches in Public Parks
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2020, 09:49:43 PM »

Not necessarily public parks, but last year I played a couple of games for my old team in Kent for the first time in about 15 years, and I was shocked at how many of the local teams had folded during my absence. I reckon at least half of the teams I used to play against have either disappeared altogether or merged with another struggling team. It also shocked me just how much the standard had declined.

Out here in sunny Oxfordshire it seems to be less of an issue. In fact I would say that amateur cricket seems to be thriving.
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RPC/Blueroom Cricket - Adie

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Re: Lost cricket pitches in Public Parks
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2020, 07:34:44 AM »

All sports have been declining for 20+ years sadly . We have a stats man who has put all the clubs games (and I mean all - correctly scored ball by ball) since about 1980 and if you go back even just to 1998-2002 the number of teams who no longer exist is very high. There is a rise in big clubs having 2/3/4/5 xis but nowhere near enough to replace the loss of players and sadly, genuine village grounds .

Get used to it, future is fewer but super clubs so you Ill play the same club league in league out but just their 8th, 7th, 6th xi Etc
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Jimbo

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Re: Lost cricket pitches in Public Parks
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2020, 07:54:51 AM »

The clubs that have been lost in our leagues have tended to be village clubs where the population has been falling or effectively turning into retirement villages. Jobs are in the city and with more housing available on the edge of the city it's easier to live close to work.

We've actually seen a massive uptick in mid size clubs putting out more junior sides, partly due to hard work from volunteers but also because the local council has supported cricket in schools which has made kids aware of the sport. Difficulty will be turning keen juniors into keen seniors but there's hope!
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Manormanic

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Re: Lost cricket pitches in Public Parks
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2020, 11:45:04 AM »

I don't sense in places I am regularly that there is a massive drop off - maybe a few village clubs as Jimbo points out where the population is no longer demographically able to sustain a team, but through the Thames Valley area, for example, there are not many League clubs that have "gone" - Ruislip Manor, Caversham & Readingensians, ICI Paints and British Airways are the ones I can think of, and two of those were thriving well enough numbers wise when the Companies that owned them sold the facilities.
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RPC/Blueroom Cricket - Adie

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Re: Lost cricket pitches in Public Parks
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2020, 12:35:45 PM »

The clubs that have been lost in our leagues have tended to be village clubs where the population has been falling or effectively turning into retirement villages. Jobs are in the city and with more housing available on the edge of the city it's easier to live close to work.

We've actually seen a massive uptick in mid size clubs putting out more junior sides, partly due to hard work from volunteers but also because the local council has supported cricket in schools which has made kids aware of the sport. Difficulty will be turning keen juniors into keen seniors but there's hope!

Its fashionable for clubs to have loads of youth sides but not many stay in the game % wise. Still, glad some areas arent doing too badly but the overall figures suggest its dropping year on year
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Psi

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Re: Lost cricket pitches in Public Parks
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2020, 01:08:12 PM »

I read yesterday that Flitoff's first club pitch will be built on with a housing estate. But that hasn't been played on for 7 years...
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bradleywiggins123

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Re: Lost cricket pitches in Public Parks
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2020, 01:42:16 PM »

Thanks for the responses but these seem to have gone a bit off-topic onto the loss of the teams and clubs, something, sadly, were all too familiar with here in Essex.
However, what I want to talk about is the loss of pitches at public parks. Some of these have had cricket played in them for anything from sixty to over a hundred years but have now stopped in the last 5-10 years ,never it seems to return.
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RPC/Blueroom Cricket - Adie

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Re: Lost cricket pitches in Public Parks
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2020, 02:06:08 PM »

Council wickets are just not looked after, horrible to play on and once no one uses them, fall into disrepair.

I think I know of at least technically 14-15 wickets which are council owned now not used or maintained but are still there currently. Generally now used as dog pooing areas
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bradleywiggins123

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Re: Lost cricket pitches in Public Parks
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2020, 02:07:28 PM »

Just in the space of a cup of coffee within a 10 mile radius of where I live I can think of a dozen pitches that have been lost in the last 10 years. Some of them were quite lovely places to play, the pitch at Clements Hall ,last used in 2016 ,was a particular favourite.
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Re: Lost cricket pitches in Public Parks
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2020, 03:10:39 PM »

Just in the space of a cup of coffee within a 10 mile radius of where I live I can think of a dozen pitches that have been lost in the last 10 years. Some of them were quite lovely places to play, the pitch at Clements Hall ,last used in 2016 ,was a particular favourite.

Council pitches rarely seem to be nice though lets be honest. If the ECB cared they could buy up farm land, and rent it to smaller (not big clubs) clubs to make nice long term grounds
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Jimbo

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Re: Lost cricket pitches in Public Parks
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2020, 04:19:18 PM »

Big problem with council pitches is that you get ground staff whose main job is doing football pitches so they treat the cricket grounds like a football pitch. A perfect football pitch is a shocking cricket outfield and probably vice versa.

Long term, the best option is probably for clubs to take over ground maintenance with a grant for equipment which is hopefully what our club will do eventually.
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jamielsn15

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Re: Lost cricket pitches in Public Parks
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2020, 05:53:25 PM »

No one's addressed the major point here. Council's parks, green spaces, open spaces departments habe been decimated due to budget cuts amd the prioritising of 'more important' departments as councils have to cost cut.

Many parks departments have been integrated into highways, cemetries, etc and the epxertise has been lost with laying off staff and lack of training of new, young groundspeople.

Football pitches are being cut every other week as opposed to weekly amd the knowledge and cost of preparing cricket pitches has been lost. The demand is there. LMS and BAME groups would play on parks pitches, but the resources have fallen off the cliff.

My job entails protecting green spaces with councils amd sports clubs. Trust me, the meetings I've had with councils over the past 5+ years I've seen parks departments go from 40+ staff to less than 10 across many local authorities.
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bradleywiggins123

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Re: Lost cricket pitches in Public Parks
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2020, 06:38:09 PM »

Thats an extremely incisive response on this issue. Council funding has been slashed year on year on and so much things have had to give. How long can a square be left before its too late to bring it back to life again?
I agree the demand is there for pitches that can be hired by various teams. We have BAME teams from London desperate to find pitches to play on who travel into Essex to find pitches.
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jamielsn15

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Re: Lost cricket pitches in Public Parks
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2020, 07:30:03 AM »

Thats an extremely incisive response on this issue. Council funding has been slashed year on year on and so much things have had to give. How long can a square be left before its too late to bring it back to life again?
I agree the demand is there for pitches that can be hired by various teams. We have BAME teams from London desperate to find pitches to play on who travel into Essex to find pitches.

Thanks, that is precisely the issue, in that the knowledge required to tend a cricket square has been lost. Councils won't commit to long term leases to teams in many cases as the land becomes an asset they may have to sell.  It makes my job increasingly harder- how do you promote the benefits of green spaces and their value to comunities when the council is talking about having to lay off staff or cut social services?

This is an ongoing issue, particularly in the north, where council tax income simply isn't the same as in the south. The combination of losing the parks staff, their knowledge, experience, training of new staff and parks and green space provision means this is the new norm. We're not going to see a standard we'd expect of public park cricket pitches anymore, on the whole, sadly.
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