Cricket players run out of the borough
Town Hall chiefs have come under fire for enforcing a controversial ban on cricket at the borough’s last remaining ground after a series of aggressive conflicts between cricket and football players.
The announcement has caused outrage among members of the resident Pacific Cricket Club, who have played at Wray Crescent for over 15 years, and have no alternative ground to move to.
In a message sent to the club, Barry Emmerson from Islington council, said they were “increasingly concerned” about a series of “very aggressive and confrontational exchanges” between footballers and cricket players who share the ground.
Islington Council have now stopped the club taking bookings on Sundays at the park to stave off future conflicts between the players.
Toby Chasseaud, opening batsman for the club, said: “”It is a crying shame if we are prevented from playing at Wray Crescent on Sundays. It is easy enough for the footballers to walk 10 minutes up the road to Finsbury Park to play but we don’t have that option because there is no longer a wicket there.”
Mr Chasseaud added: “To have to start our matches late or to cancel them is ridiculous when we have paid to book the pitch. It is yet another blow to cricketers in the borough. Hopefully a solution can be found as soon as possible.”
In a message sent to the club, Mr Emerson from the Council acknowledged that it was frustrating for the team as it was the only pitch in the borough.
Peter Hollman, club secretary at Pacific, said “The council seems to be saying we can’t play if footballers are there. But they have a ground in Finsbury Park which they could use – we have no other option but to stay at Wray Crescent.”
Wray Crescent has been the only venue for cricket in the borough since Tufnell Park Playing Fields in Campdale Road was turned into a football ground over 10 years ago.
The future of cricket at Wray Crescent park has been jeopardised a number of times in the past. In 2011, the council enforced a total ban on cricket after the club was forced to pay out £680 to a driver whose Porsche was damaged by a cricket ball.
The club hopes to reopen bookings for May 2014 – but say the plans depend on the outcome of talks with the police.