HAILSHAM: Vandals trash cricket club’s training nets

The damaged nets
The damaged nets

MINDLESS vandals have destroyed Hailsham Cricket Club’s practice nets – causing more than £6,000 worth of damage.

The club’s captain Rob Wilkinson was called to the Hailsham Recreation Ground early last Wednesday (August 3) after reports of anti-social behaviour and arrived to find yobs had wreaked havoc on the team’s training facilities.

The batting and bowling nets had been ruined beyond all recognition, with metal poles bent, netting ripped and supports torn from the ground.

Hailsham’s first team play in Division Two of the East Sussex Cricket League and currently sit seventh in the table – mired in a relegation scrap with Crowborough, Pevensey and Herstmonceux.

However, the players will now have to make do without training because the club says it will not replace the nets until it can afford to add suitable fencing round the outside, along with a padlocked gate.

Club captain Rob Wilkinson explained, “We knew that when we spent that much on them it was a risk putting them at the Rec but we wanted other people to be able to use them – not just club members.

“This year they have already been burned and slashed. People have even used the top as a trampoline. I would say we have spent half an hour to 40 minutes repairing them every week this season.

“We are going to put up a protective fence around the nets to try and keep them as safe as possible. It is a real shame because it means a dad cannot rock up with his little boy and have a bat there, but we cannot afford to keep replacing and repairing them.”

The damage will also have a disastrous affect on the club’s 70 odd junior players who train at the Rec every week and will no longer be able to do so.

Mr Wilkinson is now hoping someone will come forward and offer to help put up the fencing, or advise the club on how best to keep the nets safe in seasons to come.

“It does mean the public cannot use the nets but we have to keep them safe – especially with so many young players using them each week,” said Mr Wilkinson.

“Any help will be hugely appreciated. We have a lot of tradesman at the club – but nobody who knows anything about fencing.”

Anyone who can help out with metal scaffolding poles or protective fencing should call the club captain on 07980146841, and anyone who witnessed the vandalism should call Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999.