Last years attempts to get the paddock fence came to nothing. At one point there was a discussion around the possibility of a metal fence being put round it, but in the end we didn't even get a small part of the fence repaired just so that balls didn't end up in the road. In the end I was asking for just the section along the road to be repaired and the bloke who I was liasing with at the council just chose to ignore me in the end.
I did notice though that in the last few months or so the council have been in there and filled in a big hole left by the removal of a big old willow tree, so maybe as the weather improves more might be done? In the meantime I've tracked down one of the main blokes at the council who offered me a lot of help and support several years ago on the basis that I was encouraging grass roots cricket. By my reckoning, since then, I've been integral to introducing several of the players in the U15 and U13's at B&PCC to the sport... Kieran Barbaro, Oliver Bybuke, Harry Hodgson, Mathew Cruse and my own sons Ben and Joe. The paddock has been an integral part of that process. Furthemore, possibly because of the access to such practicing facilities, Kieran, Ben and Harry have all won awards for bowling and fielding at the club and I reckon that if Oliver Bybuke was to start playing in games he'd make his mark within a season and would go on to win awards too?
At the end of last summer though, what with the fence coming down a couple of dog owners took using the cut strip to run their dogs back and forth up the length of the wicket. Throwing the ball along the length of the wicket their Staffordshire Bull terriers would run down the wicket and then skid at the end ripping the grass to shreds, running back to their owners. This over a couple of months runied the bowling area and despite asking the people not to do it and pointing out that I maintain the flat smooth area of grass, didn't seem to make any difference. Footballers; I can't do much about them as the area is for sport and they're entitled to be in there as much as us, but in November after some serious rain, a bunch of 17-18 year olds - 10 of them, played football in there for 2 or 3 hours and trashed it.
So it's a mess and I'm not sure whether I'm going to bother this year, especially if the dog owners are in there again. I'll try and get in touch with the main man at the council and see if he's able to help us out and if there is something that he can do for us I may give it a go and try and get it back to a usable state. I need to make a decision quick though as I need to get grass seed down and therefore need to buy some.
From the bowlers end. The shadow cast from the bushes on the left-hand side is beginning to reduce the light and therefore affecting the ability of the grass to grow and re-grow. They really need to come down.
This is the earth I put down at the end of the summer trying to flatten out the batting area, this is in desperate need of seeding.