Cricket club takes further vote towards move

Published on: 02 Dec 2013

THE possible redevelopment of Downend Cricket Club at a new site away from the WG Grace Memorial Ground has moved a step closer.

Members at the annual meeting voted 29-15 in favour of taking relocation plans to the next stage.

This will mean a developer formally investigating potential sites, discussing finances and drawing up detailed plans for a new ground and clubhouse at a new site.

A club spokesman said: “The committee will now manage this next stage of the process and report back to members at a future date.”

The decision to investigate selling the four-acre site in the centre of Downend, between Downend Road and North Street, was taken by a vote of members in 2011. Any further decisions on whether and how to proceed will also be made by a members’ vote.

Cricket enthusiasts say a move is necessary to ensure the club’s future. It would enable more youth teams to run and girls’ and women’s teams to be formed.

Members were told before the annual meeting that a “combination of ageing facilities and a lack of significant investment opportunities from private or grant funding” meant that “the cricket development that should be achieved by a club with Downend’s heritage is at risk.”

But traditionalists say it is because of the historical link with one of the sport’s greatest players that the club should stay where it is.

William Gilbert Grace was born in 1848 in a house overlooking the ground. He played 44 seasons in first-class cricket, only retiring at the age of 60. WG notched up 54,896 runs as a right-handed batsman and also took 2,864 wickets as a medium pace bowler.

Downend Cricket Club, which has 120 adult members and 70 juniors, runs three senior teams, a Sunday team, and six junior teams.

The club was founded in 1893 and has owned the WG Grace Memorial Ground since 1920.

It now has a new club president, Andy Bromley, who replaces Pete Lucking. All other officers were voted back into their respective posts.

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