It looks to be the end of an era for cricket in Birchencliffe.
A row between rugby league players and cricketers who play on the same ground at Birchencliffe Cricket Club has ended with cricketers getting the boot.
Officials at the Halifax Cricket League say 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.
“With immediate effect the club has withdrawn its team from the Second Division Second XI’s competition and its remaining eight fixtures are cancelled.
“As per League rules, its completed matches will be expunged from the records for season 2017.
“Its First XI is hoping to complete all its remaining fixtures and it has switched the three scheduled home matches to Bradley and Colnebridge, which luckily is available on the necessary dates, which has very kindly stepped in to stage these matches.
“Going forward, into season 2018, then clearly there is major problem to be solved if Birchencliffe is to be saved as a cricket club and the League and YCB will do all it can to assist in this matter.”
Former cricket club secretary and groundsman Mark Burns, who has resigned and gone to play for Golcar, said he had been left with no option but to resign after he was suspended from the club for allegedly overstepping his authority for stopping a match being played there.
He said: “They had trashed the match wicket so I stopped the game.
“Afterwards, I got a phone call from Tony Brice, secretary of Birchencliffe Cricket Club, saying I had exceeded my authority and was suspended. Cricket has been played here since the 1950s but I think that will be the end of it now.
“It’s a shame because it is acknowledged as one of the best cricket grounds around. Players from other teams rave over the quality of the cricket and the facilities.
“We were one of the most diverse teams too with six different nationalities playing for us – we had British, New Zealand, West Indian, Pakistani, Indian and Qatar players in the team.
“We were dead against the changes but the club allowed it and the rugby players have about two to three times as many members as the cricketers so it was a no-win situation.
“I understand that as a result of all this the club will eventually change its name to Birchencliffe Sports and Social Club.”
Mr Brice declined to comment.