CRICKET: South Kelsey Cricket Club folds

South Kelsey Cricket Club pictured in happier days on 2011 EMN-141026-213554001
South Kelsey Cricket Club pictured in happier days on 2011 EMN-141026-213554001

One of the best known local cricket teams will not be playing in the Lincolnshire Cricket League next season.

South Kelsey Cricket Club held an emergency meeting and a vote among players this month and reluctantly decided to tender their resignation from the Lincolnshire League.

Speaking to the Market Rasen Mail Secretary Mike Owen said: “It has become hard to make up a team of 11 players every week.

“You need a pool of about 18 and we had an unfortunate experience at the end of last season in not being able to raise a side to go to Outcasts. That let them down and we felt embarrassed by it.

“We had several meetings and then a vote and decided to fold. All very sad.”

At the league’s Annual General Meeting held last week at Rase Park, Market Rasen, clubs heard the news.

“It was received with much sadness by the clubs. South Kelsey have been long standing members of the Lincolnshire League and their resignation was accepted with much regret. I always enjoyed playing against South Kelsey and then visiting as Chairman,” said League Chairman Bob Welton.

Mr Owen had joined about 14 years ago when the club had joined with Claxby Cricket Club.

“We had some real stalwarts over the years. People like the late Walt Blackburn, Lol Waghorn, Carl Dixon and Paul Lawson among many. But they all gradually packed up. In more recent years Phil Pearson has done much for us, especially maintaining the ground.”

South Kelsey club is believed to have been founded in about 1921. One famous name who had played was Nigel Adkins when he was physio and then manager of Scunthorpe United.

Only three years ago the club was playing in the Premier Division of the league. At the start of the 2013 season the club decided to withdraw its 1st team and concentrate on running with just one team in Division 3. That continued last season and after a slow start the club’s results picked up and they ended in the top half of the table.

Mike Owen had received the Secretary of the Year award at the league’s annual dinner in April this year and there appeared to be a positive future for the club.

Late last season however there were one or two games that had to be conceded as the club had failed to raise a side and the writing appeared to be on the wall that the club might be struggling to raise a side and find volunteers to take on administrative roles.

In the 1990s the club still played in the village itself on what is the public playing field, but it moved to the former Lysaghts ground at Holton le Moor level crossing over 10 years ago, where it has remained ever since.

The club became more ambitious and obtained the services of overseas players in an attempt to improve its playing status. For several seasons Sri Lankan star Chandi Wathukarage played for the club.

With promotion to the Premier League hopes were high for a stable future. Sadly it has proved anything but and one of the most popular local clubs will be no more next season.

All being well cricket will still be played at the ground however, as the league have given provisional permission for Louth 3rds to play at the ground next season and their entry into the Lincolnshire League Division 4 was accepted at the AGM subject to all arrangements for them to pay at Holton le Moor are in place by December.

One bright spot for local cricket at the league meeting was the future of Brigg Town. Brigg have been given the unanimous backing of clubs to play at Brocklesby Park in 2015 for a second season.

The news of the restoration programme for the Recreation Ground on Wrawby Road in Brigg was given to the meeting and League Chairman Bob Welton had visited the ground after reseeding of the square.

“I was impressed with what had been done with the relaying and reseeding of the square. I was impressed with the standard of work. Copies of photographs of the square were circulated to all clubs and it was also noted that plans for new changing rooms were presently going through the planning process at North Lincolnshire Council,” said Mr.Welton.

Hopes are that Brigg will play in the town from 2016.