Club stumped

BIGGLESWADE Cricket Club claim their hopes of survival have been hit for six by the inactivity of a town council. The club says it is in danger of being kicked out of the Bedfordshire Premier League because its ground at Fairfield is continually targeted

BIGGLESWADE Cricket Club claim their hopes of survival have been hit for six by the inactivity of a town council.

The club says it is in danger of being kicked out of the Bedfordshire Premier League because its ground at Fairfield is continually targeted by vandals.

In recent months equipment has been smashed and broken glass and rubbish strewn around the outfield.

This week the club appealed to Biggleswade Town Council for help to make the playing field more secure and to keep the public out.

But councillors deferred any decision until after the elections and even then are unlikely to agree any financial package to fence off the playing area.

The cricket club says the problem is caused by the public using two gates at the side of the playing field to get from the Fairfield estate to Sainsbury's and gangs of youths gathering in the evening in the old football club stand and causing trouble and even using the area for drug dealing.

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A concrete wicket was damaged during construction, ropes and posts surrounding the square have been stolen and the equipment shed badly damaged.

This week club chairman Jerry Keen said the club's whole future was at stake over the conditions of Fairfield.

"Fairfield was supposed to be turned into a bespoke cricket ground but nothing has happened," said Mr Keen.

"The ground needs to be secured to prevent vandalism and stop people walking across the playing area from Fairfield to get to Sainsbury's.

"Fairfield needs to be fenced and locked to not only prevent people getting in but also preventing vehicles getting in there and driving on the field.

"There is a serious threat we may get thrown out of the league if we can't improve our ground.

"Every year we are bottom of the standards league because our ground is not premier league standard.

"The news that the council is not supporting us at the moment is not good but I am not surprised. We are trying to maintain a thriving club but are being beaten all the time by vandalism."

Cllr Rex Skinner said he had a lot of sympathy for the club but securing Fairfield would cost thousands of pounds which the council could not afford.

"We decided any decision would be deferred until after the council elections but Fairfield is not a dedicated cricket ground. It is also there for public use," said Cllr Skinner.

"Hopefully the police might be able to keep a closer watch on the ground but being a public area means a lot of people are going to be over there.

"The council cannot afford to spend thousands of pounds securing the ground.

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