South Yorkshire Times, June 6, 1969
Problems for Wath Club as Wombwell Bid is Refused
Wath Athletic Cricket Club, one of Yorkshire’s oldest junior clubs, faces the threat of extinction. Their own ground, once the site for minor counties matches, is now a swamp. If they are unable to find a second home they may have to fold up.
The Club have already been flatly turned down in their bid to use Wombwell Main Welfare’s ground. They are to ask the Yorkshire Council to play all their matches away from home until their own ground can be repaired.
“If the Council do not give us permission to play all our matches away from home, we shall have to think about packing up:” Phil Staves, Wath Secretary, told the South Yorkshire Times this week.
Wath’s ground was hit by subsidence seven years ago, when repairs to clear up the problem of flooding failed. The N.C.B. who have accepted respnsibilty for the ground are to inspect the position
“The position is hopeless. Even if repairs start immediately we will not get any cricket out of the ground for at least 18 months- said Mr. Staves.
“The players have been looking after the ground for the last five years as we are without a full time groundsman. but this has cost us five or players. Understandably, they get tired of preparing the pitch. Now we are without a ground we cannot expect to retain players,” he said.
“If we close the club there could be no more cricket in Wath. Once a club closes players go elsewhere, it would be very difficult to attract them back,” he added.
However, President Mr. Herbert Richardson was more optimistic. “We will probably ask the Yorkshire Council if we can play all our fixtures away for the rest of the season, and we hope to meet Wath Council representatives to discuss the state of the pitch. I have plans which could possibly help us with the drainage problem — if we can get anyone to come down and give us a hand” he said.
The application to use the Wombwell ground was made to Wombwell Urban Council’s Allotments and Parks Committee, who took over the Welfare when the pit closed.
A letter from Mr. R. H. Fish, Wath Urban Council’s Clerk, who backed the plea was not read out.
Coun. Ben Richardson said, “I do not even want to hear the letter. These people are wanting to tie the pitch even when they are not using it.”
Coun. Joe Rose added, “We want someone in Wombwell to form a team. I know that local people are interested and that we are likely to get a team which would work closely in conjunction with the Council. “We have to keep a close eye on things so that the Welfare does not go to rack and ruin. Wombwell has its heart and soul in cricket.”
Coun. Harry Wilkinson agreed, saying. “Coun. Rose is dead right. Wombwell is really interested in cricket, we must show our own colours first.”