Sunday, 15 December 2019

Cricket clubs merger off after talks break down

Cricket clubs merger off after talks break down

KIDMORE End Cricket Club has denied that it wanted to take control of assets belonging to Checkendon Cricket Club after merger talks broke down.

Both clubs discussed a possible union over the summer but the proposal was rejected by Checkendon Parish Council.

The council owns and is responsible for the management of the village playing field and pavilion and was concerned that the merger would mean it lost its autonomy.

Instead, it wants to demonstrate its support for the club in its current form by redeveloping the pavilion.

Jeff Sheldon, vice-chairman of Kidmore End Cricket Club, insisted that both clubs would have had equal status after the proposed merger.

He said: “At no point was there anything within the proposal that suggested they would not have control but we didn’t get that far. There was nothing to suggest that from our end. Everything was 50:50.”

Kidmore End currently play at the cricket pitch in The Hamlet, Gallowstree Common.

Mr Sheldon said the merger would have improved the standard of cricket at both clubs.

He said: “We would have split the cricket across both grounds and put on more fixtures.

“Informal discussions with Checkendon started towards the end of last season. It wasn’t a direct approach by Kidmore End. It was pretty much a joint initiative.

“Key members of Checkendon and key members of our club had some discussions and the proposal was for a mutually beneficial merger to ensure the future of both clubs and improve the standard of cricket. We wanted to expand from a position of strength. It was a fantastic opportunity because of growth and improving the standard of cricket available.

“Our club was right on board and we would have gone through due process to ensure everyone was happy and on board.

“We would have had a vote at either the annual meeting or an extraordinary meeting. The management were 100 per cent on board and it would have been a decision for the membership.”

Kidmore End has about 300 members and up to 10 teams that play at their home ground each week throughout the summer. Three senior teams play in the Thames Valley League and there are five junior teams.

Mr Sheldon said the merger would have strengthened his club’s position. He said: “We are lucky to have a great ground and teams in the senior league. By no means are we rolling in money but we are all right.

“Sports clubs should not have money in the bank. They should be spending it on facilities for their members.”

He said the club did not have any plans to merge with any other club in the area but it wanted to develop.

“We are always looking to grow, expand and improve,” said Mr Sheldon.

“There will be some work done over the winter. We will be raising money for refurbishing the nets because they have seen a lot of use.

“We have also just improved our scoring facilities with a new solar-operated digital scoreboard.”

Matthew Wickens, who is chairman of Checkendon Parish Council and the village cricket club, declined to comment.

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