The secretary of Birchencliffe Cricket and Athletic Club has defended the club’s conduct after a row between rugby league players and cricketers ended with the latter leaving the club.
On Monday the Examiner reported officials at the Halifax Cricket League had said that “due to a dispute between Birchencliffe Cricket Club and its fellow co-tenants, Lindley Swifts RLFC, where the latter is switching in 2018 to play summer rugby league at the ground, there is a grave doubt as to whether cricket will ever be played at that ground again.”
The row had serious repercussions, with the club’s withdrawal of its cricket team from the Second Division Second XI’s competition and its remaining eight fixtures cancelled.
And the First XI was left having to switch its three scheduled home matches to Bradley and Colnebridge.
Former cricket club secretary and groundsman Mark Burns resigned and went to play for Golcar, after he was suspended from the club for allegedly overstepping his authority for stopping a match being played there.
Today (Thurs) club secretary Tony Brice said: “The club has not banned cricket in any shape or form. In fact we expect cricket to be played at the club next year in some form or another.
“However, the cricket club people have taken the decision to leave on their own accord. The reason for Mr Burns’ suspension was that two weeks ago we had a cricket team who wanted to play a friendly at our ground.
“We charged them a fee and we agreed for them to use the ground. The team were all wearing the correct gear but Mr Burns turned up with his wife and kicked them off the ground.
“He was very belligerent and he had no right at all to do that. Because it caused so many problems a decision was taken to suspend Mr Burns and for him to turn up and explain his actions to the committee but he decided to resign instead.”
He said there was no reason why the cricket teams could not have played their remaining fixtures at the club but said they decided to “take their bat home”.
The committee has now decided to rename the club Birchencliffe Sports and Social Club in a bid to attract new members and Mr Brice was anxious to emphasise the omission of the word ‘cricket’ in the title should not be taken in any way to reflect any antipathy towards cricketers.
On a happier note the club will stage its annual fun day for families and children from noon on August 27.