Surrey blame ‘struggling facilities’ for Whitgift cricket decision

A scene from a bygone era? County cricket in Croydon, with the spire of St Peter's, South Croydon, in the background

A scene from a bygone era? County cricket in Croydon, with the spire of St Peter’s, South Croydon, in the background

Doubts over whether county cricket will return to Croydon were renewed this week when the annual meeting of Surrey members was told that “struggling facilities” were the reason for the county club’s continued absence from Whitgift School.

The cricket festival staged in the grounds of the South Croydon private school was introduced in 2000 and quickly became a popular week with Surrey members, with crowds of up to 5,000 turning up for four-day county championship games plus televised one-day fixtures proving popular with broadcasters because of the potential for six-hits into the Nottingham Road.

But first-class cricket has not been staged in shadow of St Peter’s Church since 2011.

At first, the official reason given was the building works to construct a dormitory for boarding pupils at the school. In 2012, the Olympic summer and fixture issues were cited. Last autumn,  the chairman of Surrey CCC, Richard Gould, told Inside Croydon that a return was not possible in 2014 because of requirements of the England and Wales Cricket Board and changes to the county fixture list.

But members’ bulletin boards and forums have continued to raise the spectre of the inadequate facilities for the players provided by the school. That this was given as an official explanation to Surrey members at their meeting at The Oval this week will be a bitter blow to the school, which is run by a charitable foundation but which has spent more than £500,000 in up-grading the wicket and the playing field to what it hoped would be the required standard.

Marcus Hook, the Croydon-based cricket writer, pointed to Whitgift having staged, albeit at short-notice, a second XI match last summer. Things could not have gone too well. “Last year Whitgift hosted a second XI game. This year it isn’t. So I can’t see a first-class game there ever again.”

Surrey were relegated from Division One of the County Championship. Today, with a playing record of Played 2, Won 0, Drawn 1 and Lost 1, they are due to begin a four-day game against Hampshire with two Old Whitgiftians in Jason Roy and Dominic Sibley included in the 12-man squad.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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4 Responses to Surrey blame ‘struggling facilities’ for Whitgift cricket decision

  1. farmersboy says:

    If they can’t get cricket at the school what is the point of having their own MP? Oh…

  2. Middlesex are playing at Merchant Taylor School this year. The pavilion is almost the same. Massive cop out from Surrey again. Or has the school annoyed them again?

  3. Whoever wrote this article seems to be suffering from the false-consciousness of thinking that cricket is somehow a good thing. It isn’t. It’s one of the outdated vestiges of reactionary bumpkinism which has been inflicted for far too long on normal people by the muddle-headed nincompoops who invented it.

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