No games to be played at Green Lane for the first time in 138 years
BOLTON Cricket Club are facing up to the possibility of life without cricket after damage to the wicket at its Green Lane ground left it unplayable.
The club, which has been in existence since 1868 and has spent 138 years at its current site, sent a letter to members saying there will be no league cricket played in the 2013 season.
James Walton, Bolton Cricket club secretary, confirmed they face a repair bill of up to £8,000 which the club say it is unable to pay.
The decision will be discussed by the executive committee next week, when Mr Walton expects it to be ratified.
“Upkeep of the wicket is the cricket section’s responsibility, but they don’t have anything like the kind of money needed to bring it up to a playable condition so they are going to have to be bankrolled by the club, which doesn’t have that kind of money either,” he said.
“We will be having another meeting to discuss it but my own personal view is I don’t think we can afford to keep them.”
Bolton Cricket club currently plays in Division One of the Manchester and District Association, and the league, Lancashire Cricket Board and Bolton Council were informed of the situation at a meeting last week.
The concern is that, with no matches for a season, the cricket section will lose members and may cease to exist.
But Mr Walton said, whether that happens or not, the club’s thriving rounders, bowls and tennis sections will carry on regardless.
And he added: “At the moment it’s just this year. We will have another look at funding at the end of this year then will have another meeting to discuss whether to carry on as we are or whether we bankroll the cricket.
“It’s a hard decision we have got to make, but we’ve got to look at the financing of the club, so it’s unfortunate.”
Mr Walton said that problems with the wicket stem from a mistake made by a member, who treated them with lawn seed instead of sawdust.
“It was an innocent mistake made by somebody who didn’t know any better,” he said. “The wickets are going to take quite some time to come back to a playable level – it will need completely digging up.
“We had a quote to bring two wickets up to playable level and renew the drains and it came in between £7,000 and £8,000.
“We are looking at other ways to get round the problem. One way would be for the cricket club to practise elsewhere during the week then just play games on a Saturday and Sunday.
“We could see if a temporary wicket could be laid further away from where the damaged area is at the moment. That’s not ideal, but it is something we are looking at.”