BIDEFORD Cricket Club is fighting to ensure the future of its historic ground at Westward Ho! Cricket has been played there since at least the 1880s when it was the playing field of United Services College, where Rudyard Kipling was a pupil. But the seasi
BIDEFORD Cricket Club is fighting to ensure the future of its historic ground at Westward Ho!Cricket has been played there since at least the 1880s when it was the playing field of United Services College, where Rudyard Kipling was a pupil.But the seaside ground has become hemmed in by modern development and claims against the club for damage caused by balls hit out of the field have been increasing.Now the club has launched an appeal for £9,000 to pay for higher fencing on two sides of the ground to satisfy its insurance company.The money has to be raised by April 1 next year to guarantee that the insurance will be renewed."No fencing, no cricket. That could be the reality of the situation," said Peter Adams, president of the club, which runs sides in the Devon league and North Devon Holiday Homes League.It also has a thriving Colts section, which attracted up to 120 youngsters a week to net sessions last season.Club treasurer Andy Davies said: "The insurance company has not said it will refuse to renew our insurance, but that is the prospect if we do not find the money for higher fencing."Club chairman Brian Champion said: "Bats are getting heavier, players are getting stronger and more and more balls are being hit out of the ground. It is a very worrying situation."The club has obtained planning permission from Torridge District Council - which owns the ground - to erect netting 6.35 metres high on the two most vulnerable sides of the field.The netting would be erected behind existing fencing at the beginning of the season and removed after the last game."Inevitably, some balls will still go over the top, but we have to be seen to be doing something, or we might not be able to play cricket there again and that would be a great loss to the community," Mr. Champion said."We've had a meeting with Torridge Council and they were most helpful, suggesting where we might obtain grants."But that could be a long process and we must have the netting in place by the beginning of next season to ensure our survival."That's why we are appealing to people to help us raise the money. The club has already raised £1,000 towards the cost."Offers of help should be directed to club president Peter Adams at Amberley, Limers Lane, Northam.