Cricketers fear Islington Council will turf them out

Cricketers fear they could be turfed out of Islington – just a year after they celebrated saving the borough’s last remaining pitch.

Members of the Pacific Cricket Club, who play at Wray Crescent in Finsbury Park, are worried adult matches could be suspended by Islington Council because plans for a 15ft fence to stop dangerous shots flying into the street have been rejected.

They are appealing to the council to allow them to keep on playing at the last remaining public pitch in the borough, which once housed the 18th century precursor to Lord’s, White Conduit Fields.

Club secretary Peter Hollman said: “The netting across the existing fencing has been working adequately. There is still the odd stray ball, but nothing anywhere near the houses. We play 20 games a year at the weekend and we have not had a problem.

“We don’t think the fence is necessary. We think we should be allowed to play and we are appealing to the council to let us.”

Cricket was suspended at Wray Crescent last February, after the council was forced to shell out �680 to the aggrieved owner of a car struck by a wayward ball.

Play resumed after netting was put up to trap balls, following a campaign by the Pacific Cricket Club.

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The town hall has since explored building a bigger fence because some balls are still escaping – but now this idea has been dropped the players are left fearing the worst.

Islington Council said while some residents have complained, there are no plans to ban adult games.

Cllr Paul Smith, executive member for the environment, said: “We are absolutely not banning cricket from Wray Crescent.

“We are in ongoing correspondence with Pacific Cricket Club about this. Most cricket played there is youth cricket, which will continue unaffected.

“We know how much the game means to our residents and are finding the best way forward for both the local community and cricketers, hopefully without the need for large nets.”