The Battle of Wray 2012
Tue 31 Jan 2012 
Club news item

Following a year where the suspension of all adult cricket was lifted, the proposed measure of 15 feet fences has been rejected by the local residents at a council meeting. We continue to argue that Pacific do not pepper properties by raining cricket balls. The London Borough of Islington have held their public meeting & are due to hold a private one to decide whether they wish to ban all male adult cricket effectively from the borough given that this is the last public access ground within its boundaries. Pacific have drafted a statement which is being sent to the councillors who will be attending.

Following last Tuesday's meeting, Pacific Cricket Club have had an opportunity to consider the local residents' opinions with regards to the continuing of cricket at Wray Crescent.> We agree with the general consensus of the meeting that the proposed netting is on an unnecessarily large scale & will harm the amenity of the area.> We do not agree with the council's assessment of the level of risk & we feel that the existing fencing & netting & tree cover is suitable for most cricket played there including by Pacific Cricket Club.>

We do not wish to see a reduction of cricket played there however we appreciate that not all styles are suitable in that space.  The council has let the ground to other lessees such as Last Man Stands who play a format which encourages big hitting & that is not sensible for Wray.> To address local concerns, we are prepared to consider playing with a rule that will penalise shots that clear the fence in certain areas.>

Last summer the suspension was overturned & Pacific played without any recorded incident & we feel that the additional netting was fit for purpose.> We have been in contact with several other clubs who also play in congested areas such as Highgate Woods & London Fields. These areas are very popular in summer & many families & young children are in range yet play is allowed to continue there. It is our belief that the risk assessment is about property & not health & safety in this instance.> Pacific have been insured against any such mishap for over 25 years.>

At the meeting Pacific CC, Islington's only local adult club, were the only club represented & whose members attend meetings with local residents, sports bodies, the Council & their contractors on a regular basis> At one such local meeting at Tufnell Park in 1999, the council consulted us & we agreed to the cricket pitch there being removed on the basis that we would always be able to play at Wray Crescent.  If the council suspends all adult cricket at Wray again, & no alternative found, then the Council will have broken its promise.> Having attended the aforementioned meetings, Pacific have gone ahead in good faith, contacted Aquaterra, established the booking rates, contacted the oppositions & confirmed 12 fixtures for the 2012 season.

Alternatives are not available at this juncture & need to be explored in the Autumn - not when every club has already confirmed their fixtures & ground booking applications have all been submitted. We would therefore propose that the proposed suspension is deferred & the season reviewed until October when decisions regarding the 2013 season are made.>  

Reported on 5th March 2011 Catherine West, leader of Islington Council, said: "We're big supporters of cricket and have made sure it can stay at Wray Crescent, which is greatly loved.

"We're determined to protect Islington's last cricket pitch.

"We'll keep a close eye on the situation to make sure it's working and that the sound of ball on willow continues in Islington for years to come."