Sunday, February 21, 2016

Maidenbower cricket pavilion near Crawley Sussex

This is another of the Pavilions I shot last week. This one is in Maidenbower Drive, Maidenbower, near Crawley, West Sussex. I've done some research, but haven't been able to ascertain whether it's anyone's club base. It's almost certainly a council run building and looking around it's use has been changed in recent years and it now runs seemingly as a community centre. There's an existing image from 2008 on the Google maps website see here of the building in its previous incarnation.
So this image here above is the current version of the Maidenbower pavilion (Feb 2016) if you look at the link above, the original version was so much better aesthetically, designed in the classic style of a cricket pavilion. I would imagine the architect who designed the original building was mortified when he/she saw this modified version. For the moment the cricket pitch still remains, apparently without it's own caring team, so by my reckoning its days are probably numbered as the local community seems to care very little for the game of cricket despite the fact that cricket is one of the games that this country plays well and since 1966 has been world beaters on a number of occasions.
* Definitely click on the link above the difference (Before and after) is a travesty.

Whilst researching I came across a forum where there was a lot of discussion about the rights and wrongs of how this park area is managed and this is completely indicative of the issues that surround such facilities that are new and have no cricket history. This thread here has a discussion between someone with football interests and another who seems to be sticking up for the cricketers, but isn't a cricket player themselves. I have to admit that all of the pitches in this area were absolutely sodden with loads of standing water. The better pitches further afield were far better, but again these were pitches that have been around for generations and maintained to a far higher degree. Cricket in towns does seem to struggle against all sorts of issues and this is a good example of the issues that arise through conflict of interest and the facilities not being designated for any length of time to a club that cares.

It does seem that cricket is played on this wicket but no team has it as its home base. Reading the forum link above it also seems a similar situation stands for the football teams and that Crawley council do not allocate pitches to local teams as such. One of the points that neither of the forum writers doesn't seem to take into account is the H&S aspect relating to cricket. It's made with regards to football e.g. teams shouldn't be allowed to play on the pitches if they're 'wet' as people will skid and break bones. But they don't seem to realise that the wicket has to be maintained because of the nature of the game of cricket and the inherent increased need for H&S...

A cricket ball as you're probably aware is rock hard in comparison with a football and the sole intention of a fast bowler is to hurt the bloke standing in front of the wickets (Within a set of rules). With a ball being thrown at you at anything up to 80mph you might be able to grasp that if the ball is bouncing off of an uneven surface e.g. a poorly maintained wicket, the chances of not being able to hit the ball and defend yourself become somewhat reduced, thus resulting in serious injuries (Death in rare instances). Needless to say, councils therefore tend to spend a lot more time, effort and no doubt money on maintaining cricket wickets.

Another thing to consider is the outfield - when the batsman hits the ball...
(1). It is in the air and the fielder has to run across a surface that needs to be maintained e.g. level because he does so whilst having to look up in order to catch the hard ball. Any unevenness in the surface when running after the ball may result in broken ankles or a ball on the head etc.
(2). If the ball is hit along the ground off the bat -  again it comes off the bat at around 90mph +. If when it hits the outfield it does so off of a true (maintained) surface the fielder is able to catch the ball. If the surface isn't maintained it's line and trajectory out of the bounce is wholly un-predictable -  resulting in broken jaws, loss of teeth etc. Again these are the reasons that a cricket pitch has to be maintained to a far higher level than a football pitch.
Without a club being completely affiliated to this facility and having the support of the local community and council at least to some extent, this grounds future looks fairly doomed. The pavilion has been vandalised (I'm sure the architect will agree) and all its aesthetic charm ruined.