0 It's been a washout

Wiltshire's cricket clubs are counting the cost as the wet summer continues to decimate their season.

Last weekend every fixture in the West of England Premier League was cancelled while in the eight divisions of the Wiltshire League only one match got underway before that too was abandoned.

The season which started in May has been beset by poor weather and Corsham's head groundsman and former chairman Tony Shardlow is concerned over the financial hit that clubs will sustain.

"I've been doing the ground at Corsham for 23 years and I've never known a summer like it," he said.

"Our first team have been lucky enough to only have two home games called off but we've had representative games off and recently had to call off a sponsors' day.

"A cricket club isn't like a pub - if there's no game on, then nobody will be coming to the ground.

"I worry for smaller clubs around here because you might end up losing around £1,000-£2,000 if you take the year from July to July."

Wiltshire League chairman Mike Smith, also the secretary of Bradford Town, added: "We've had 10 Saturdays of an 18-week season so far and some teams have only played three or four games.

"It's been a really tough summer and some clubs might struggle financially come the end of the season. It also shows no sign of ending at the moment.

"It's been really difficult for groundsmen and we've ended up playing in conditions that we normally wouldn't have.

"One or two clubs have asked if they can rearrange games but there's a problem there because if only a few can replay matches, then it's unfair on those that can't.

"A lot of teams will be sharing their grounds with rugby and football clubs at the end of the summer and won't be able to carry on playing.'' Trowbridge have been forced to find new ways of generating revenue at their County Ground base - but even then, the weather could hamper their plans.

"We've got a six-a-side tournament happening this weekend with people from a few different firms, because we've lost so much cricket but we're just hoping that it actually happens," said club administrator Christine Davies.

"We've got a function room that will keep us going for a little while but I don't know how the smaller clubs are surviving. It's been such a difficult summer but what can you do about it?"

The Wiltshire Cricket Groundsman's Association praised its members for their efforts in challenging conditions.

Wiltshire Cricket development manager Pete Sykes said: "Preparing a wicket is not something that happens in the few hours before a game, but days beforehand, and if the ground is too wet, then preparation is really difficult.

"In May we had clubs facing a hosepipe ban and now we have waterlogged pitches. The county's groundsmen need a pat on the back for all their work."

Article sourced from This is Wiltshire

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