BADMINTON’S historic cricket ground is back in regular use – thanks to Pucklechurch 3rds who are proud to call it their new home!
Just two months ago, though, there were fears that Pucklechurch might have to pull out of league competition when they found themselves without anywhere to play. Chairman Dean Freestone said:
“We decided to relaunch our 3rds for this season as our numbers were so strong and thought we had somewhere to play only for that ground to fall through.
“Denise Young, our treasurer, was straight on the case, contacting all the parish councils she could think of to see if there was anywhere that could host us. And the first one to get in contact was Badminton, asking if we might be interested in their cricket ground.”
Badminton have not had a regular side for at least ten summers, but the occasional match is still played on a square which over the years used to host star-studded XIs put together by the Duke of Beaufort to face Gloucestershire as well as the Lord’s Taverners featuring celebrities such as Mick Jagger and Jools Holland.
Dean added: “The first time we came up, which was only six or seven weeks ago, we weren’t exactly sure where the square was because the grass was so long! But a few of us got to work with the mowers and we then hired a roller. The end result is four strips which we can use for our league games this summer.”
Pucklechurch may have got off to a losing start, against Lansdown in the Bristol & District League’s 30-over division. But Dean is delighted with the way the whole project has panned out.
He said: “It’s such a pretty ground, and 22 people ended up playing here who might otherwise have found something else to do. The age range of our side went from 17 to 62 and included the new village vicar.
“We’re very grateful to Badminton Parish Council for their help while we’ve also already picked up a couple of new players from Badminton.”
Dean is convinced that there must be more such grounds just waiting to be rediscovered and returned to use.
He said: “We can all think of grounds that have been lost over the years, but with a bit of love and care I’m sure there are some that can be resurrected and brought back to life.”