Fringe Box



Women’s Cricket Has a New Home at Grafham

Published on: 30 Jul, 2021
Updated on: 2 Aug, 2021

Blackheath’s women’s team playing the first “Hundred” match at their new Grafham ground with refurbished pavilion.

The newly refurbished pavilion at Grafham Cricket Ground, home of the Blackheath Cricket Club Women & Girls Section, was formally opened by club president Peter Herbert at a ceremony on Sunday, July 25.

It is believed to be the only cricket ground principally devoted to women and girls’ cricket in Surrey.

Club president Peter Herbert formally opens the new pavilion assisted by (left) Club Chairman Nick Harrison who was surprised to learn that it will be named after him.

The Grafham ground and pavilion was taken over by Blackheath Cricket Club after Grafham and Smithbrook Cricket Club folded at the end of 2018, saving it from permanent closure.

In December 2019, Blackheath CC took a 50-year lease of the ground from Waverley Borough Council.

Since then, the ground and pavilion have been completely refurbished at a cost of over £180,000, thanks to generous grant funding from Sport England, the London Marathon Charitable Trust and the Surrey Cricket Foundation, as well as the club’s own fundraising activities.

The work includes the complete gutting and refurbishment of the interior and the building of a new extension to the rear to create new changing rooms, showers and toilets, as well as a new kitchen.

The ground itself has also undergone extensive work with the removal of an old artificial pitch and the installation of three new turf pitches.

The completion of the refurbishment project and the opening ceremony were delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, although the ground has already been in use this season by the Blackheath Women & Girls Section, the Men’s 3rd XI and various boys’ teams.

The victorious Blackheath women’s team.

The opening ceremony was preceded by various Under 9 and Under 11 girls matches against teams from Cranleigh and Pyrford Cricket Clubs and was followed by a lunch for invited guests, including local representatives Cllr Richard Seaborne (chairman of Bramley Parish Council and Waverley Borough councillor) and Cllr Michael Goodridge (also WBC), as well as Mark Babb and Jess Ward of the Surrey Cricket Foundation.

In the afternoon, the Blackheath Under 18 Girls played the Blackheath Women in the first ever “hundred” match played at the club, for a magnificent trophy donated by James Denton of Culinary Concepts.

The match was completed despite intermittent rain and resulted in a narrow victory for the Blackheath Women with just five balls to spare.

Club chairman Nick Harrison said: “We are delighted to mark the final completion of this project, which is the result of a huge effort from many volunteers as well as the generous contributions of our grant funders.

Our women and girls section has expanded rapidly over the past two years and now has a great facility which will enable further expansion in the future. We are extremely grateful to everyone who has helped to make it possible.”

Women’s Captain Helen Mansell receiving the stag’s head trophy (a stag forms part of the Blackheath CC badge).

Blackheath women’s captain Helen Mansell said: “The Blackheath women and girls are so pleased to have our own ground, which can only help us strengthen our teams.

“Despite the rain, all who played in our first ever hundred match had a fantastic afternoon albeit slightly wet and it was great to show the visitors and guests the quality of our women and girls’ cricket.”

Mark Babb of the Surrey Cricket Foundation said: “It is great to see the culmination of this fantastic project, which has ensured the continuation of cricket being played in Grafham.

“The improvement to both the ground and pavilion is a testament to the hard work of both the club and their volunteers, and this is now a great facility for the club’s growing women and girl’s section and the men’s 3rd XI to utilise.”

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