Increasing rent and dwindling player numbers are putting the future of Whitchurch Cricket Club in doubt.
One supporter of the club says it is in a ‘perilous state’ and that if the issues are not resolved it could fold after more than 200 years.
Clive Osmond said: “[The majority of] our players come from Whitchurch. With its 200years of history it would be a very great loss to the town.”
He added that Lord Denning, who was president of the club for many years, had negotiated a generous rent but that since his passing the club has had to pick up the increasing rent payments and longer contract periods.
He said the ‘demise’ of the club is also due to the isolation of Parsonage Meadow, which has brought with it a ‘vulnerability to vandals’ who trashed the mowing equipment and part of the pavilion building earlier this year.
The club runs two sides, one on Wednesday which is made up local businessmen and one on a Saturday.
Mr Osmond said that players for the Wednesday sessions have diminished and that the league only plays one game per year.
The Saturday players still take part in the Hampshire League, but the team has had a very difficult year in raising a full team, he added.
He said: “Whitchurch CC Saturday XI has always prided themselves on selecting local cricketers, which makes you wonder why we are not able to raise enough cricket interest in the town.”
Whitchurch Town Council discussed the club at a meeting last month. Chairman John Buckley said: “Whitchurch Cricket Club is a much-loved local institution and a quintessential English ground and one of the town’s treasures with its traditional pavilion, staddle stoned barn and under the bells of the parish church.
“I urge those who wish it to remain as such to apply for an Asset of Community Value and I hope the town council will support this. The ground is part of our lovely town’s character and should not be lost.”
To help support the club or play for the town’s cricket team, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.