'We have nowhere else to play': Cricketers hit back at pitch criticism

Cricketers at Wray Park shelter under umbrellas after the pavilion was closed off to the public because of disrepair

Cricketers at Wray Park shelter under umbrellas after the pavilion was closed off to the public because of disrepair - Credit: Peter Hollman

Cricketers have hit back at opponents of a new pitch in Wray Crescent, reminding them they have nowhere else to play the sport in Islington.

The council wants to upgrade the pitch and renovate the pavilion, which has laid derelict since 2017, to make the park "a destination for the sport in inner London".

A planning application is expected to be submitted this summer to demolish and rebuild a multi-use building - but some park users have complained there has been no consultation, and that plans are being rushed through.

The cricket pitch at Wray Park

The cricket pitch at Wray Park - Credit: Peter Hollman

Pacific Cricket Club, which was founded in 1983, used to play at Tufnell Park until 20 years ago when it was turned over entirely to football.

And Finsbury Park, in Haringey, also had a cricket pitch until it was turned into a baseball ground at about the same time.

Cricket has been played at Wray Park since at least 1987, and an artificial wicket was laid there in 1999 when the council pledged to protect and maintain it as the borough’s last cricket facility.

The cricket pitch at Wray Park

The cricket pitch at Wray Park - Credit: Peter Hollman

Toby Chasseaud, chairman of Pacific, which plays at Wray Crescent at weekends, told the Gazette it is "vitally important" that cricket continues to be played there. 


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He said: “A new pavilion will make Wray a better place to play and will encourage the next generation of cricketers.

“Since 2017, when the old structure was condemned, we have been without a pavilion.

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“We have had to change outside, it has been difficult to prepare food, and we have had nowhere to shelter during rain showers.

“Many of our players suffered during the long months of winter lockdown and have since enjoyed the sense of purpose, camaraderie and exercise that cricket provides."

 

The cricket pitch at Wray Park

The cricket pitch at Wray Park - Credit: Peter Hollman

An Islington Council spokesperson added: "The council is committed to protecting and maintaining the site, and carries out annual maintenance work to keep it in good condition. 

The cricket pitch at Wray Park

The cricket pitch at Wray Park - Credit: Peter Hollman

"Our plans will help make the area a destination for young people and communities across our borough to play cricket locally, whilst also ensuring Wray Crescent can be used as a community space for everyone to enjoy.”  

To comment on the plans email: wraycrescentparkbuilding@islington.gov.uk by July 16.


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