New Chichester cricket pitch will benefit whole community
Chichester Community Development Trust (CCDT) have unveiled a new cricket pitch at Keepers Green – on the site where a pitch was first created for patients and staff of the then West Sussex County Asylum.
The new pitch will support community cricket, incubating new talent and connecting those to the game that otherwise might not have a chance to experience it, including youth and women’s teams.
Records show that cricket was the sport that gripped the residents of the asylum from when it opened in the 1890s, with doctors playing as often as possible during the season, including during office hours.
The Graylingwell XI (later Graylingwell Cricket Club) were playing their first season during 1897 – the year the asylum opened.
The new pitch will be available to all cricket clubs in Chichester, and a strong and exciting partnership has been formed with Chichester Priory Park CC, who have already secured a number of dates to play in 2021.
Locals are encouraged to go and watch on matchdays to build the sense of community.
Clare de Bathe, CCDT’s director, said: “It is so exciting to see the game of cricket brought back to this site. Having the game here will be great for the mental and physical health of all of Chichester’s residents – be they watching or playing, just as it was over 100 years ago.
“We will be building the youth game through the brilliant Street Cricket coached by the Sussex Cricket Foundation, as well as working with partners to build a women’s game and teams for walking cricket.
“We’d love to hear from anybody who is interested in taking part and may even find ourselves developing some Graylingwell Park or Keeper’s Green XIs.”
Tim Gregory, chairman of Chichester Priory Park, said: “We were delighted to host the first game at the new Keepers Green facility and also launch our new fifth XI team, who played a first league game against a strong Pagham team.
“It was great to see a number of people from the community watching the game and expressing their pleasure at seeing cricket being played at Keepers Green.
“Chichester lost, but the match was close and played in an excellent spirit and the new facilities were a resounding success – the pitch played well and there was even enough shelter to keep out of the heavy showers.
“CPPCC is delighted to have formed this partnership with the CCDT and is looking forward to playing many more matches at Keepers Green for years to come, aiding the continued development of our junior and women’s cricket.”