Saturday, 23rd August 2014

Washout summer hits cricket club’s coffers.

The washout summer has left a town’s cricket club on a financial sticky wicket.

Officials at Church Stretton Cricket Club need to upgrade the wicket and find money to repair two mowers which broke down earlier this year if the club is to be ready to take its place in division four of the Shropshire League in 2013.

Fifteen of the club’s 22 senior matches were either washed out or severely affected by rain during the summer, costing the club about £400 in match fees and resulting in relegation from division three.

The club has had to almost empty its financial reserves to pay the £700 bill for fixing the two mowers.

Officials need to raise more than £1,000 to start next season and more will be needed to pay the annual rent.

But the beleaguered club, which has been established in the town for 92 years, did receive a boost last week.

Strettondale Local Joint Committee agreed to hand over more than £600 to help the cricketers out.

Brian Underhill, who has been club secretary and treasurer for 15 years, told the meeting the club had always operated on a sound financial footing, but circumstances over the summer had conspired against it.

He said: “As well as fixing the mowers and working on the pitch we need to raise enough money to pay our annual rent and we are a long way short.

Problems

“Usually we would expect to have five games a season rained off, but this summer it was 15 and it has cost us about £400 in match fees. The problems with the mowers have made things worse.”

Shropshire councillor Tim Barker, chairman of the LJC, said: “It would be a shame to lose this club for the sake of money and Church Stretton is one of a number of cricket clubs south of Shrewsbury working hard to encourage youngsters to play the game.”

Councillor Lee Chapman, who represents Church Stretton and Craven Arms at Shirehall, said: “A club as long established as this in Church Stretton, which is pretty vital to the community, needs our support.”