Tong Park Cricket Club and Esholt Cricket Club amalgamated to become one organisation on the 1st January 2009. The motive for the move was to bring together two well established and successful clubs in order to provide a bigger, stronger club to move forward with the best of both establishments into the modern era. History of both clubs stretches back to the late 1800s and we now have a community focused club that is family friendly, welcoming and inclusive of all.
We run 3 senior sides playing on a Saturday. Our First and Second XI play in the Airedale & Wharfedale Senior Cricket League playing from our main ground on Esholt Lane. Our 3rd XI play their home games at the picturesque Tong Park ground next to Tong Park Dam in the Dales Council Cricket League.
We re-launched our junior section in 2018 with investment from the club in ECB Coaching Courses for our volunteers, new equipment and offered free introductory sessions for children new to the game. Our junior section continues to develop and will see us enter 3 sides at Under 9, 11 and 13 age groups this season. We'll also be running the ECB All Stars and Dynamos programs for boys and girls aged 5-11 for the first time this year.
As with sports clubs up and down the country COVID-19 has hit our finances hard, with events not being allowed to take place and bar takings significantly down on previous years. This reduced income has left us struggling to fund our core cricket activities let alone continue our program of improvements to our facilities.
Our 2nd ground at Low Springs has particularly suffered. It's beautiful location, at the side of Tong Park Dam, is also remote and has been subject to increasing levels of vandalism and anti-social behavior during the pandemic. Our club is unable to sustain the increasing repair bill for damage caused to the ground and the fear is that it may become untenable for us to continue playing cricket here. Together with naturaly ageing facilities we have some major updating to be done to make playing cricket here sustainable for the future.
Cricket was first played at the ground in 1910 after Denby's footed the bill to convert swamp land into the cricket ground still enjoyed and admired today. It's openly enjoyed by dog-walkers, families and ramblers not to mention playing host to it's own collection of bees in the hives in one corner of the ground. We would like to improve facilities, secure the ground and outbuildings to prevent further damage and expenditure as well as improve essential drainage required by local landscape changes.
As our junior section continues to expand and further teams are introduced over the years to come we'll need to use our 2nd ground at Low Springs increasingly to play host to these games.
Our aim to introduce teams at under 15 and 17 age groups as well as an academy side hinge on having a ground to play on and facilities that are suitable and adequately secure from potential vandalism.
- Drainage problems - improve drainage trench.
- Security of buildings - roller shutter on scorebox and anti-vandal measures.
- Improve toilets and changing rooms - expand roof section over toilets and refurbish them and the changing rooms, re-instate showers.
- Tea room updates - replace unfit and unhygenic kitchen units and redecorate tea room.
- Ground security - install fencing at the rear of buildings and ball-stop netting to surrounding boundaries.
Over recent years collecting rainwater has been an increasing problem during the winter months as saturated ground at the rear of the changing rooms begins to flood. We believe the felling of numerous trees in a field to the rear of our land has amplified the issue and damage to the foundations of our changing rooms and outbuildings is now a serious problem. We have attempted to dig a trench ourselves to carry this water away from this area and back into the stream at the other side of the ground. The trench needs improvement and expansion - requires digging out with mechanical equipment.
One of the main targets for vandalism has been our scorebox with damage done to various measures we've tried to install to protect it. Our most recent attempt to cover the scoring tins and windows was to cover them in clear plastic sheeting which has now all been broken and smashed exposing the scorebox to further damage. We would like to have a metal roller shutter door installed that will protect the face of the scorebox whilst also prevent access inside.
We'd also like to install further anti-vandal measures to prevent easy access to outbuilding roofs which have also been subject to damage recently.
Most recently (10/04) we discovered someone has broken a downpipe and damaged the changing room roof gaining access to the toilets. They left the toilet in a disgusting state and broke a water pipe to the sink leaving water leaking all over the floor.
We would like to extend the roof across the entrance to our toilet block to make it more secure from trespassers and less exposed to the elements. This will involve some block work to build up the wall to roof level and extending the roof itself. A further toilet block has become overgrown with weeds and abandoned for use. We would like to re-instate and secure this.
We'd also like to re-decorate the toilets and inside the changing rooms to make them more hospitable.
Our tea room is old and tired. We would replace old kitchen units and reconfigure the space allowing more room for dining and enjoying refreshments as there is minimal areas to shelter in adverse weather - particularly with current social distancing restrictions.
The main wooden door is rotten, swollen and needs replacing with a suitably secure door. The room itself requires re-decoration and new dining furniture.
Our ground can easily be accessed with a small dwarf wall to the rear of our outbuildings. We would like to install fencing here to restrict access to unwanted visitors. We would also like to replace damaged ball-stop netting and install additional areas of netting to prevent the cricket ball entering adjoining fields and land used by animals, walkers and keen fishers at the dam.
We are engaging with the local community to assist us with our fundraising goals and have a number of members who have come forward to volunteer their help. If you can support us in another way or if you are a local business who could offer a reward to encourage further pledges to our Crowdfunder please get in touch.
We are working hard to raise as much as possible and your help would really be appreciated to give us that extra push to realising our vision of transforming our ground into a safe and secure asset that the whole community can really be proud of and enjoy.