Budleigh plea to have league cricket season extended - or scrap relegation

15:36 12 July 2012

Budleigh Cricket ground after it had suffered yet another flooding of their club house. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exsp 6255-28-12AW

Budleigh Cricket ground after it had suffered yet another flooding of their club house. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exsp 6255-28-12AW

Archant

CRISIS club Budleigh Salterton have urged Devon Cricket League bosses to throw them a lifeline by extending the season or scrapping relegation from the Premier Division completely this summer, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.

Flood water a Budleigh Salterton’s Ottermouth home was around 15 feet deep last Saturday when the 2nd XI should have been playing at home to Heathcoat.

Budleigh should have played 20 Devon League games this season at 1st and 2nd XI level, but have only started half that number due to matches being rained off.

The ground at Ottermouth suffers a unique problem with flooding due to issues with drainage from the nearby River Otter and an outfall on to the beach just a few yards away.

It could be at least a month before the ground is fit to play matches on again – and maybe even longer.

Chairman Neil Rice said efforts are being made to find an alternative ground to play on, but that’s no straightforward task. Only a small number of school and colleges have the facilities to put on Premier Division cricket – and there are cost and availability issues to consider.

“One school – I won’t say where – wanted £500 for one match,” said Rice.

Budleigh’s petition to the league to either suspend promotion and relegation, or extend the season is all about fairness, according to Rice.

“Six out of ten games for the 1st XI have been cancelled and at only six points each we have taken 36 out of a possible 120,” said Rice.

“No disrespect to anyone we would have played, but I feel we would have won more points than that.

“It does not seem fair that we could be relegated because we have not had the opportunity to play. You can’t base a promotion or relegation issue on the number of games we could end up playing.”

Budleigh have had so many problems with flooding at Ottermouth over the years they are unable to get insurance cover against it, which means a massive bill is heading their way.

“All other perils are covered, but not flooding,” said Rice.

“Last Saturday when the water came up to the eaves of the pavilion, we were able to get in there are move a lot of stuff into the loft. One of our members canoed into the pavilion on Monday and said the stuff in the loft is dry.

“We are looking at around £30,000 to clean and repair the pavilion. The kitchen is ruined, the bar and stock destroyed and everything is covered in silt.

“A few years ago we raised the level of the floor in the equipment shed to protect our machinery in the event of a flood. We have not been able to paddle over there yet to inspect the damage.”

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