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.
- Hat-tip to Jason Cobb’s Onionbagblog for the sober reporting from the Surrey CCC members’ AGM
- Marcus Hook’s Hampshire v Surrey preview
Coming to Croydon
- Stop The Incinerator Beer and Bingo fund-raiser, Apr 28
- Future of Crystal Palace debate, Apr 30
- Groundwork River Wandle project workshop, Apr 30
- David Lean Cinema: The Railway Man, May 1
- Groundwork River Wandle project workshop, May 1
- Hauntology – the architecture of Croydon, Apr 5-May 2
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, May 4
- Crystal Palace Chamber of Commerce Question Time, May 7
- David Lean Cinema: Wadja, May 8
- Coulsdon Euro election hustings, May 8
- David Lean Cinema: Blue Velvet, May 10
- Norwood Society Talk: West Norwood – a place of change, May 15
- David Lean Cinema: The Invisible Woman, May 15
- Coulsdon West local election hustings, May 16
- Croydon RFC charity memorial day, May 17
- Coulsdon East local election hustings, May 19 (confirmed)
- David Lean Cinema: The Rocket, May 22
- David Lean Cinema: Dallas Buyers Club, May 29
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, June 15
- Norwood Society Talk: The Concrete Church, June 19
- Classic Car Show at Purley Rotary Fields, June 22
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
- South Norwood Allotments open day, June 28
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, Aug 10
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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