June 15, 2009

England cricket

Village killjoy fails to stop club

Martin Williamson





Mike Burgess' house © Surrey Advertiser
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A victory for common sense after a Surrey homeowner/killjoy (delete as applicable) had his initial attempt to get an injunction to ban his local club from playing were kicked out by the court. Shamley Green CC has been playing on the ground since 1840 but Mike Burgess has taken objection to its activities since he moved in, all of four years ago.

Burgess, who clearly knew he was moving into a house next to a cricket green, claimed that he was acting in the interests of health and safety and moaned the villagers treated cricket “like a religion”. He also suggested a “six and out” rule for matches on the green.

In a clear big to further ingratiate himself with his neighbours, Burgess said he would continue with his legal action despite warnings from the judge that he faces considerable costs. “It’s only just begun” he insisted. “It will highlight to the country that our democratic rights are going to the wayside. I think it is outrageous when cricketers have got a right over everybody else. Shamley Green has played cricket for 169 years, but there have been rapes and pillages for longer than that and it is still not right.”

There are 15ft-high nets protecting Burgess’ house but he wants these raised to 25ft. He also insists that as the ground is bordered by roads, there was a danger to passing motorists and walkers. However, many neighbouring villages are equally close to roads – Bramley, Shalford and Cranleigh to name three – and there are no issues with those.

Check out the Surrey Advertiser for more.

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Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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