Cricket club back on track after blaze

The scene at Banbury Twenty Cricket Club after its pavilion was struck by lightning
The scene at Banbury Twenty Cricket Club after its pavilion was struck by lightning

Banbury Twenty Cricket Club members are looking to the future following the blaze which destroyed the club’s Ermont Way pavilion last month.

The fire was caused by a lightning strike which hit during a ferocious storm.

Club members are working hard to ensure the damage caused has minimum impact on the forthcoming season.

Geoff Hawkins, president of the club’s trustees, said: “We have had to cancel the first two games, on the 19th and the 26th, and we’re working to get everything ready for May 3 to start playing cricket here again.”

He added: “We will get two temporary buildings some time next week which will be providing dressing rooms, showers and a tea room. Portable toilets are all in place already and the building is now awaiting demolition.”

The costs will be met by the club’s insurers who will also handle the demolition and subsequent rebuild.

Mr Hawkins said: “The one thing delaying it at the moment is that the demolishers need a certificate from Cherwell District Council.”

A 15-strong working group was busy on Good Friday to get the site ready for the season by undertaking work on the cricket surface, including mowing and putting out boundaries. “It’s all in hand, said Mr Hawkins, who added: “We’re getting back on track very quickly and everyone has been very supportive; the response has been fantastic so we’re on our way.”

The first game at the club was played in 1933 and cricket records dating all the way back to the club’s birth were destroyed in the fire.

More than £6,000 worth of equipment belonging to a barbershop chorus was also ruined.

At the height the blaze, two fire engines from Banbury were joined by crews from Chipping Norton, Eynsham, Kidlington, Deddington and Oxford.

Banbury Twenty Cricket Club amalgamated with Banbury Cricket Club two seasons ago. The amalgamated club’s third and fourth teams play at the Banbury Twenty facilities.