Bridport & West Dorset News, Views, Videos & Curiosities

West Dorset: Vandals damage village cricket and football pitches

VILLAGERS near Bridport are looking out for vandals who have churned up a cricket pitch used by schoolchildren.

Eight times over the last 18 months, at irregular intervals but always on a Tuesday night, one or more cars has been driven over the cricket and football ground at The Weir in Nettlecombe.

Steve Hibbs, chairman of Powerstock Junior Cricket Club, said: “The last time was the worst because the ground was wet and where they were turning, the wheels dug in, and they put grooves in the wicket.”

Dorset police have now been informed and residents have been asked to report any suspicious activity, and note number plates.

Powerstock Junior Cricket Club has 35 members, including boys from Loders, Bradpole, Bridport and Beaminster. Five have played for Dorset. The pitch they use is carefully maintained by volunteers and parents. Mr Hibbs said he had so far spent eight hours repairing the damage caused at the end of March.

Pitches at Nettlecombe are now looking better, after hours of hard work.

He did not believe that vandals had a vendetta against sporting clubs using The Weir.

“I think it was just an available field to go and be silly in.

“But it’s disrepecteful and inconsiderate.

“It’s deliberate and it’s unnecessary.”

Now locked: The Weir at Nettlecombe.

Earlier incursions were not so bad because the ground was much harder, but the gate to the playing fields has now been chained and padlocked by Victor Crutchley of Crutchley Farms, who own the land. Nobody liked barring access, said Mr Hibbs, but action had to be taken to stop the forthcoming season from being ruined.

“Luckily the first game of the season is away. Our first home game is not until Thursday May 6 against Lyme Regis Woodroffe.

“We’d welcome any residents who want to pop along and have a look. We want people to be involved. It enhances the village community.”

Mr Hibbs, who lives near West Milton, started the cricket club five years ago, partly because he believes it’s good to keep old traditions like village cricket teams going.

Locally, he is also chairman of Bridport Market.