Cricket community in Bowmanville bowled out by ruling against dedicated grounds for 2024

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Published June 5, 2024 at 3:02 pm

cricket

Bowmanville’s cricket community is in a bit of a sticky wicket after the municipality’s General Governance Committee turned down a request for a permanent pitch in time for league play this summer.

Cricket enthusiast and community organizer Pankaj Panchal said he was “disappointed” the committee put off an appeal to establish a dedicated cricket ground at Lord Elgin Park in Bowmanville this year and instead opted to send the request back to staff to look at “potential future sites” for future years.

“They refused our request. We came out with nothing,” said Panchal, who made a presentation to the committee (along with Jay Sharma) on Monday.

The request was for two pitches in a 120-metre radius section of the park, with one pitch dedicated to league players using a traditional hard cricket ball and the other for recreational players using a tennis ball.

“There’s an increasing interest among diverse cultural groups and the current facilities are inadequate to serve the growing community,” Pankaj said in his presentation. “A dedicated cricket ground would be a win-win for Clarington.”

Pankaj said three years ago there was just five league-calibre players in Clarington. “Now we have 40-50, along with 150 casual players.”

Oshawa and Whitby have dedicated cricket grounds but the fields are always booked, he added, limiting local and league opportunities.

“There is a lack of suitable playing facilities to meet the demand.”

Lord Elgin Park fits the bill because it has a flat playing surface, it is centrally located (just north of downtown) and meets all the criteria for a safe and professional playing field.

Pankaj, who works with Unity in Diversity – a community group dedicated to organizing events to bring people and cultures together – and chairs the 2024 version of the We Care, We Can fundraising initiative for the Bowmanville Hospital’s redevelopment, estimates the cost to install a cricket pitch at somewhere between $15,000 and $30,000.

“It’s not a lot of money.”

There are currently softball diamonds at the park but Pankaj told indurham he doesn’t see a lot of baseball being played in the park. “Only dog walkers.”

Pankaj said he wasn’t optimistic of success at the committee, given the tight timelines to prepare the grounds in time for a shortened summer league season and is only cautiously optimistic of success in the future.

“I hope it can happen next year but I’m not happy with the response (Monday). I’ll talk to the mayor and we’ll see what happens.”

Clarington celebrated the opening of the first municipal cricket pitch in the municipality at Courtice Memorial Park last August.

 

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