Vandal outrage at historic Leeds cricket club

Groundsman David Hodgson by the vandalised wicket at the Queenswood Drive ground.
Groundsman David Hodgson by the vandalised wicket at the Queenswood Drive ground.
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A ground glass and oil attack on 11 cricket pitches has devastated an historic club catering for hundreds of enthusiasts.

Officials of the Kirkstall Educational Cricket Club, formed by teachers in 1853, are baffled by the motive for Tuesday night’s vandalism on their ground in Queenswood Drive, Kirkstall, Leeds. The club caters for a whole community of cricketers including amateurs aged nine to mid 60s, talented Leeds Carnegie Universities sides and Headingley’s Original Oak pub team.

The club is run by volunteer and has six teams, some playing in the Airedale and Wharfedale Senior Cricket League.

The damage was discovered by Club president and groundsman, David Hodgson at 6.40am.

He found ground glass had been scattered at “strategic points” on each of the 11 pitches and motor oil poured onto the turf.

Efforts were made to relocate a fixture against a Loughbrough side due to be start hours later, but that could not go ahead.

Within hours members turned out en masse to clear the contamination using a power brush. But vacuum equipment may be needed and the oil covered turf will have to be reseeded or replaced.

The cost is likely to run into thousands, said Mr Hodgson.

“We are absolutely devastated and have no idea why anybody would do this. This club serves the whole community, but we do not have the resources to completely fence it off,” he added.

The England cricketer Bill Bowes honed his skills at the club.

Insp Simon Jessup, of the North West Inner Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “The damage certainly suggests this was deliberate sabotage rather than a random act.

“It is a costly setback to a club which is a valuable community resource. Anyone who witnessed suspicious activity or has information about those responsible should contact PC Lindsey Marsland on 0113 205 3025 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The attack is reminiscent an incident in 1975 when the Headingley cricket wicket just a short knock away, was dug-up halting the England v Australia Test Match by protestors from the Free George Davis campaign in protest at the “unsafe” conviction of a London cabby for an armed payroll robbery,

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