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News

Cricket club in Dorset earns reprieve after neighbours' complaints lead to threat of closure

Colehill CC launches fundraiser following support from Stokes and Vaughan

Colehill Cricket Club in Dorset has been threatened with closure  •  Colehill CC

Colehill Cricket Club in Dorset has been threatened with closure  •  Colehill CC

A cricket club in Dorset has launched a fundraiser to prevent the end of its 118-year existence, following complaints from neighbours about flying balls landing in their gardens.
Colehill Cricket Club in Wimborne, established in 1905, was last month told that they would have to cease playing adult cricket at the shared sports ground run by the Colehill Sports and Social Club, due to the risk of claims for damages from "a small number of neighbours who had recently moved into houses bordering the cricket ground".
The CSSC committee added that the decision to restrict cricket to Under-15s had been made with "a heavy heart and as an absolute last resort".
However, a petition to reverse the decision has received support from, among others, the current Test captain Ben Stokes, who tweeted he had "checked to see if this was April 1", and his predecessor Michael Vaughan. With close to 30,000 signatures, the club is now seeking to raise more than £35,000 to erect netting in front of the affected houses.
George Taylor, the club captain who set up the petition, said that a round of Whatsapp messages from his team-mates had put "fire in his belly" to save the club, which he argued was the victim of a "not in my back yard" mentality.
'When the land was gifted to the club in the early 20th century, there was a covenant stating cricket had to be played there," Taylor said. "Two years ago a neighbour moved in and started complaining about the balls hitting her fence and going into her property. When they decided to suspend adult cricket, there was no forum or debate - they didn't give any of us members notice."
By 1pm on January 12, the club had raised nearly a third of their target, £10,000, with the funds also pledged to cover the club's insurance costs, which have more than trebled in the past three years, and a reserve fund for incidental damage at lower-risk properties that will not be covered by the netting.
"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," read a statement from Colehill CC. "As a result some have now come forward with sizeable offers to cover a portion of the cost of netting
"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."