Outrage after travellers force abandonment of Bodicote cricket match

The travellers gained access to the field through an unsecured gate.
The travellers gained access to the field through an unsecured gate.

A cricket game in Bodicote was abandoned on Saturday after play was disrupted by travellers camped on the outfield.

Bodicote and Byfield first teams were in the opening minutes of the South Northants Cricket League fixture at Bodicote Cricket Club when children from the campsite tried to gain access to the team’s changing rooms to use the toilets. They were refused.

Bodicote 1st team vice captain and club groundsman Paul Symington, said some members of the traveller group then caused “absolute chaos” by repeatedly disrupting the match with antisocial behaviour.

He said:“One kid urinated against the village hall and then had went to the toilet in the children’s playground. One poor little kid stood in it.

“Other teenagers then went into a shed and wouldn’t leave. When some of our lads tried to get them to leave one spat in his face.

The whole thing is a disaster. It caused absolute chaos. In the end they just decided to stop play.

“When I went up to the field this morning (Monday) it was an utter mess.”

Another match on an adjacent pitch between Banbury and Harefield also faced some disruption.

About eight caravans moved onto King’s Field in White Post Road on Friday. They gained access through an unlocked gate and camped by the hedge that marks the boundary between the field and Bodicote Cricket Club’s main pitch.

The caravans left the field late on Sunday, leaving behind detritus including several sacks of rubbish, one containing used nappies. Human excrement was found on the pitch, parts of King’s Field and woods nearby adjoining Saltway Day Nursery.

Christine Coles, secretary of Bodicote Village Hall Committee, said the clear-up and repair to the King’s Field is expected to cost “hundreds of pounds”.

She said: “We are very upset as we have to clean all the mess up.

“There is urine, human excrement and sick, it is just dreadful. This has never happened in all the 20 years I have been on the committee. There was nothing we could do as they [the travellers] know the law better than we do.”