Vandals have caused ‘heartbreaking’ damage at a village cricket club.
Equipment at Saughall CC was trashed on Tuesday – with one long-serving club official and player describing the news as ‘a real kick in the teeth’.
Pitch covers have been wrecked and sight screens – placed at either end of the ground to help batsmen see the ball more clearly – have been bent out of shape and turned on their side.
It is the third time the club has been targeted by vandals this year.
Martin Huxley, a player and fundraiser at Saughall CC, said: “I’ve seen first hand all of the tireless work club members have undertaken, so it’s heartbreaking to see.
“We are only a small village club, who heavily rely on the hard work of its members to survive.
“Vandalism like this sets us all back – not just financially – it’s like a kick in the teeth to people who want to improve the village.”
Slats for the sight screens were stolen earlier this year and were later found being used to form part of a ‘den’ in the nearby woods. The pitch covers had been damaged twice before this week’s latest incident, with metal supports removed and the tarpaulin ripped.
Club officials need to assess the full extent of the damage before being able to put a price on how much it will cost to repair. It is expected to run into hundreds of pounds, possibly thousands.
The club was founded in 1893 and has been based at Golden Jubilee Park, off Fiddlers Lane in Saughall, since 2009. They have a senior team in the Cheshire Cricket Alliance and a T20 team in the Chester Midweek Cricket League.
The cricket season ended last weekend so the damage will not jeopardise any looming fixtures. It was discovered when one of the club’s groundsmen visited the pitch on Tuesday.
Martin added: “We made the decision to improve our facilities for the benefit of the village. Our hope is to grow as a club and offer youth cricket. To do this we have undertaken a lot of fundraising and have also been extremely thankful to some very generous donators.”
Club officials intend to report this week’s incident to Cheshire Police. They are keen to hear from anyone who has information which they can pass to the police, or anyone who can help repair the damage.
The club can be contacted by emailing email@example.com.
This summer, Cheshire Police vowed to “increase visibility” in the area following reports of anti-social behaviour.
Shirley Hudspeth, clerk to Saughall and Shotwick Parish Council, had called for reinforcements after some people declared they were too scared to enter parts of Saughall village.
See full story in the Chester Leader