Hopes of restoring old ground

Monica Driver and Johnathan Dixon hope to gain ownership with residents of Oriel Cricket ground.Picture Richard Ponter 131509
Monica Driver and Johnathan Dixon hope to gain ownership with residents of Oriel Cricket ground.Picture Richard Ponter 131509

The future of an historic Scarborough cricket ground is up for debate as a community group seeks to take ownership of the site.

Oriel Cricket Ground has been hosting league cricket games in the town for almost a century, despite there being uncertainty as to who actually owns the Ground

In recent years vandalism and arson have damaged the facilities, and meant that a temporary portakabin currently acts as a changing room for teams.

However now the current occupants say they are in a position to take legal ownership and raise funds to bring some much needed new facilities.

Jonathan Dixon, chairman of the Friends of Oriel Cricket Ground, said: “We’ve had discussions with the Land Registry, who have indicated that they would look favourably on us submitting a claim of legal ownership of the Ground.

“Getting legal ownership would pave the way for us to seek funding to replace the pavilion that was burnt down by arsonists a few years ago.”

Clubs playing at the Ground have been meeting all the costs of the running the facilty, despite a lack of clarity as to who owns the land itself.

Mr Dixon added: “It’s all been a bit of a mystery to try to solve. For many years people were just happy to continue as they always had done, but the destruction of the old pavilion, and the realisation that we would need a legal title to the Ground to seek to replace it, have focused minds on the ownership question.

“Clearly the ground doesn’t have a long-term future as a league cricket venue unless we can get some decent changing and toilet facilities.”

As well as a team in the Derwent Valley League, Oriel also has two Evening League teams and a newly created junior side. The ground is also host to the Valley Bar Nomads, who also play in the Derwent Valley League.

“There’s a lot of cricket being played at the ground, which shows the demand for a venue for league games in this part of the town,” said Mr Dixon.

In recent years the formation of the Friends of Oriel Cricket Ground has helped to keep Oriel functioning both as a league cricket ground and a public recreation space. As well as financial contributions from the clubs, costs are also met from donations and membership subscriptions from supportive residents.

“Many people don’t realise that the Oriel is maintained solely by the work of volunteers, and by donations and contributions from the Clubs,” said Mr Dixon. “So many people use the Ground to walk dogs, play football, or take their kids on nice Summer days, and they just assume that it’s owned and maintained by the Council, but that’s not the case.”

“Now as we’re moving forward towards claiming ownership of the Ground we really want to involve all those interested residents and users of the space to shape its future,” he continued.

“We want to have a facility which can be enjoyed and used by as many people as possible, so we need to know what those users want from the space.”

The public meeting to discuss the future of the Oriel Cricket ground will take place on April 17 at St. Andrews Church Hall in Ramshill Road. It starts at 7.30pm. All who are interested are welcome.