Young Uckfield cricketers need their pitch

Young cricketers have been told they might not be able to use Ridgewood Recreation Ground in future. 'Colin Coddington (junior head coach)
Young cricketers have been told they might not be able to use Ridgewood Recreation Ground in future. 'Colin Coddington (junior head coach)

Organisers of a cricket club were angry to learn they could be forced to abandon a ground they have used for the past ten years.

Their concerns came to light when Uckfield town councillors announced potential new uses for Ridgewood Recreation Ground were ‘under consideration.’

In a report they state the size of the field limits potential use and development would be difficult and expensive.

The chairman of the council’s environment and leisure committee said: “It’s soggy, damp and the water is running into the Millennium Green and it is not big enough for a cricket pitch.”

Other uses suggested include a larger play area, a park-like facility, more allotments or a new site for Uckfield Bowls Club.

But Paul Shepperd, secretary of Buxted Park Cricket Club, wrote to Uckfield mayor Cllr John Carvey and committee members to say his club has been a loyal user of the ground. He went on: “Our third and fourth XIs have used the ground every Saturday between May and September providing valuable income to the town council and the Ridgewood Village Hall Association.”

The ground is only ‘soggy and damp’ immediately after heavy rain. “We have not seen any evidence of water running into the Millennium Green. We have found the ground to be a good size for the standard of cricket played.”

He points out the club has a thriving junior section with 70-plus children aged seven to 13 regularly attending training sessions and matches.

He said: “Also we are the only cricket club in the Uckfield area offering regular competitive junior cricket matches in the form of the East Area Cricket Association League. If Ridgewood Recreation Ground is no longer used for cricket how will these children carry on playing into adulthood?”

He challenges councillors to attend a junior training evening and explain to the children they have no cricketing future in the Uckfield area.

A report before councillors said: “To drain the site would cause shrinkage due to high clay content and is expensive.

“The limited size of the site has an impact on room available to fit in a cricket outfield and it is suggested civil engineering consultants would be required should substantial earthworks be carried out.

“The problems relate to the gradient of the site, poor drainage of the outfield, soil etc.”

A working group has been set up to consider future uses.

To find out more about junior teams at Buxted email: colin@trfastenings.com