A Shrewsbury cricket pitch has come under fire amid fears the playing surface is so dangerous someone could be seriously injured.
Shrewsbury Cricket Club third team played host to Acton Reynald Cricket Club on Saturday at their London Road home venue on the grounds of Shrewsbury College of Arts and Technology – who maintain the land.
They were competing in Division Three of the Manby Bowdler Shropshire Cricket League and the away side were left outraged at conditions, despite winning the low-scoring game by 59 runs.
Both sides made unusually poor batting displays of 54 and 113 runs respectively as the pitch, described as ‘spongy’, left players dodging face-high deliveries and fearing for their safety.
Adrian Burr, chairman of Acton Reynald, has written a letter to Shrewsbury Cricket Club highlighting the state of the pitch and asking for action to be taken for the good of the Shrewsbury club.
He said: “It’s a shame for Shrewsbury Cricket Club because they’ve got some great players but the pitch gives no benefit to the youngsters and to be bowled out for 54 must be demoralising – it certainly spoilt my day.
“It was so dangerous that I called for a helmet after just three balls. It wasn’t a game of cricket it was death by lottery and thankfully nobody was hurt. If we don’t say anything then the league can’t help the club get better facilities.”
Iain Shakeshaft, 42, captain of Acton Reynald, said: “I think it’s embarrassing for a town like Shrewsbury to have such a bad wicket and it’s not acceptable for the level we play at. Balls were literally bouncing up round your chin. There was too much grass on the pitch, moss growing on it and it was far too spongy to play on – it wasn’t a competition it was just a case of who got lucky on the pitch.”
Andy Barnard, chairman of Shrewsbury Cricket Club, said: “We rent the pitch off SCAT and pay for the maintenance and upkeep of it. We know it’s not a high quality pitch and I can understand and would support any concerns raised but we don’t have another option.”
A spokesperson for the college confirmed it was their responsibility but no one was available to comment as the Chronicle went to press.
By David Seadon