Surrey makes new pitch for cricket at Croydon sports grounds

NEIL BENNETT has discovered more hope of a revival for what once seemed a long-lost cricket club in Thornton Heath

Cricketing revival: top-class coaching is helping around 150 youngsters take up the game in Thornton Heath

Last month, we reported on the sad demise of a once proud sports club, with a locally famous cricket club that had been based with a club house and impressive grounds off Galpins Road in Thornton Heath.

We found encouraging new shoots of cricketing activity in a youth group started by a couple of friends who have started a new Thornton Heath Cricket Club, training the next generation of players in winter nets in an award-winning scheme based at the local leisure centre.

And no sooner had our first report appeared than Inside Croydon readers were coming forward with more information about the original THCC, while the powers-that-be at The Oval also have some good news for cricketers across the borough.

Inside Croydon reader Graham Jackson is researching the history of the club himself. He was able to answer the question of when the original Thornton Heath Cricket Club stopped playing at Galpins Road – saying it was at the end of the 1988 season, after a fire in the old club house had caused too much damage to be repaired.

This was confirmed a couple of weeks later by Chris Morris, the cricket participation officer at Surrey County Cricket Club, who added that they had considered laying a non-turf pitch at Galpins Road but the playing area was not big enough to meet ECB standards.

Non-turf pitches are more consistent and easier to maintain than real grass wickets, and they encourage cricket to be played in public parks and recreation grounds.

There was good news for Croydon here from The Oval. Surrey, Middlesex, Essex and Kent county cricket clubs together form the charity the London Cricket Trust, which in 2023 hopes to install more non-turf pitches in central and northern parts of the borough, in diverse communities where facilities are sparse.

Non-turf pitches already exist in Norbury Park (where the youngsters from the new THCC play their matches in the summer), at South Norwood Lakes and Sanderstead Rec.

About insidecroydon

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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