Some weeks ago, a while before Christmas one of the parents of our younger players posted on Facebook that our pavilion/changing facilities at our 3rd and 4th XI ground… The Rec, Langdon Hills had been turned into a café. The parent enquired about the nature of the arrangement as it was obvious that the set-up wasn’t conducive with the way that the building has been used by the cricket club for as long as I can remember. The ‘Business’ that had moved in was using the space in fact had fitted it out completely in the area where we had our teas – e.g. our kitchen area. Furthermore it seems that it blocked the access to both the changing rooms (Home and away teams). The enquiry was dealt with in a less than amiable fashion and it looked like the club had a problem on its hands.
The issue was reported back to the club and the clubs officers said they’d look into the situation as the council who own the building (who we pay a lot of money to, to use the facility) hadn’t mentioned any change in the use of the building.
A couple of nights ago we had our AGM and this was brought up at the meeting and it transpires that we’ve basically been forced out of the building and off our home ground! There’s an example of a similar thing at Wickfords second ground that works exceptionally well, the people that run the café there make the teas and the building has been re-fitted – reducing the changing room sizes and increasing the café size, yes it’s not ideal in some respects, but does seem to work. From what I can gather something along these lines was discussed, but the proprietors wanted £120 or more for making the teas, I seem to recall it may have been nearer £140, whatever figure it was, it was way over the amount that was feasible for us to go with. That left us in a situation where we’d have to look elsewhere or come up with some ridiculous Mickey Mouse arrangement… Gazebo’s and tea being served outside whilst just behind us sits our pavilion, functioning in a manner that it was initially not intended for!
Anyway, it ends up we’ve been forced out and we’ve had to move. Again for me this strikes me as being really odd when one of the agenda’s within society today is the fact that people don’t partake in sports and that the majority of the population are over-weight and unfit. Furthermore cricket is one of those things that engages young people with skills that set them up for later life… teamwork, communication skills, net-working and situations where they have to work with adults that they barely know. So all those useful things associated with sport have potentially been replaced with the potential to eat cake I guess?
On a more positive note, in securing a new ground it transpires that the same ground was being sought after by two other teams – Upminster and Rainham to accommodate their lesser XI teams, which indicates they’re growing at a rate that means that their subsidiary grounds are miles away! Thankfully we secured the ground and we now have our 3rd and 4th XI ground at Holy Cross cricket ground in Basildon. Our local groundsman who does a brilliant job for us has said that he can do additional work on the wicket and get it up to a good playing standard. It was used a couple of seasons ago for our Under 15’s and looked pretty good when they played on it…
The shame is Langdon Hills Rec has such a rich history of cricket and is such a beautiful ground and the chances are it’ll gradually be neglected and no longer maintained as the arrangement with regards the use of its associated pavilion has been changed. There’s a team that use it on Sundays as their home ground – SDR. I wonder what impact it’ll have on their team? Hopefully they’ll find some way to continue at the Rec otherwise the wicket wont be maintained and cricket will be lost at the Rec.