Cricket ‘banned’ in Islington in health and safety row
15:01 10 February 2011
Islington Council has banned cricket at the borough’s last remaining ground after it was forced to pay out £680 to an aggrieved driver whose car was damaged by a mighty six.
The sound of leather on willow in the borough could be a thing of the past after town hall chiefs suspended all adult cricket at Wray Crescent, in Finsbury Park, on the advice of its insurance team.
The announcement has infuriated members of the resident Pacific Cricket Club, who have played there for 15 years and say they are loved by all the locals – except for one resident.
Peter Hollman, club secretary at Pacific, said: “We are raging about this bombshell. Wray Crescent is a crime hotspot and the residents are really happy to have us because we keep the gangs away, but there’s one guy who hates us. He’s got a Porsche and two other flash cars and any time the ball goes near them he takes it and refuses to give it back.
“Last year he actually drove his car onto the ground and refused to move until they agreed to play from one end.”
Wray Crescent has been the only venue for cricket in Islington since Tufnell Park Playing Fields in Campdale Road, was turned over entirely to football a decade ago.
Pacific had already scheduled this summer’s fixtures when it learned of the suspension this week.
The letter from Islington Council said: “We recently had an insurance claim against the council for a damage to a motor vehicle due to a cricket ball striking it.
“Our insurance team recommended that all cricket should be suspended until measures have been obtained in relation to the safety of the public. We may be in a position where we have to confirm we will no longer be able to have adult cricket played on the site.”
Councillor Paul Smith, Islington council’s executive member for environment he says he “is working with the club on exploring investment alternatives that will keep the pitch up to standard and neighbours and property safe”.
Pacific’s treasurer, James Gleadow, 28, who lives in Tytherton Road, Tufnell Park, said: “If this goes ahead it will effectively be a ban on public access cricket in Islington.
“We understand that the council has a duty to protect its residents but suspending cricket seems rather draconian.
“We are fully insured against balls smashing into cars and we believe this incident happened when the council rented the pitch out to a third party. It’s totally unfair.”