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The "World's oldest cricket ground" is being threatened by massive developmental plans close to the venue

The Mitcham Cricket Greens
The Mitcham Cricket Greens
Modified 21 Aug 2018

The Mitcham Cricket Green, Surrey is universally accepted as the oldest cricket ground “still in use”. The first documented cricket match on the ground dates back to 1685, which means that unofficial matches may have been played even before the mentioned dates. Just so you know how old it is in perspective - Australia was not yet discovered, Calcutta was not yet founded, the British had not even thought of ruling India, and so on, back then.

Fast forward to 333 years later, and the venue is in some important news - according to a "Guardian" report, Mitcham Cricket Green is now under threat of being sold to developers. A set of developers that goes under the name of Phoenix Group Investments have bought off a large area of land in the premises - which includes the venue's 115-year-old pavilion, the Burn Bullock (a pub named after Surrey batsman and Mitcham stalwart Burnett Bullock), and a car park. Phoenix has apparently planned to build a 70-room hotel on the car park, which will involve demolition of the equipment shed.

Mitcham Secretary and women’s team captain, Julia Gault, revealed that Phoenix has revealed little details regarding the future of the site: “They’d leave us with a set of plans we never wanted. We’d end up homeless, we couldn’t continue playing cricket on that ground, which would be the end of over 300 years of history but also the end of cricket for this community. It would be a terrible, terrible shame. Because we don’t have a confirmed tenancy with the current name of the leaseholder on it, we can’t do things like apply for grants as most organizations want to see the rights to be in the building. As of now, we raise every pound by ourselves."

Support has since come up for Mitcham from various corners, from the public, local councillors and cricketers, among whom is former England star Alec Stewart, who has requested people to “show your support for a fine cricket club with a proud history and we hope a bright future too”. More is yet to be known on the prospects of the venue as of right now, while all we can do is hope that it continues to stand the tests of time and other challenges.

Published 21 Aug 2018, 21:53 IST
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