Court judgement could threaten future of UK village green cricket

London, May 14 (ANI): A county court is to rule whether a homeowner can stop his local village cricket team playing because of the threat of players knocking a six on to his roof or into his garden.

In a long running dispute that has more the hallmarks of a bitter divorce than a neighbourly dispute, a judge will be asked to hand down a legal ruling that will have implications for amateur cricketers up and down the country, reports The Telegraph.

It centers on Shamley Green, near Guilford in Surrey, where cricket has been played on its village green for 169 years, despite roads running through the playing area and the backs of houses dotting the boundary.

But four years ago, when Mike Burgess moved into a bungalow on the edge of the boundary and just 25 yards from the crease, all that changed.

Aware that a crisp, square leg pull could run under his gate or through his hedge; or a slog could arrow straight onto his roof, he issued a set of demands that would protect his bungalow.

After a flurry of arguments, legal letters and even a session of independent mediation, Burgess is now asking the court to issue an injunction against the club, preventing it from playing on the green until his demands are met.

They include calling for the club to put up 25ft high nets around his property to protect it from any stray balls, and for players to be declared out if they hit it so hard it clears the nets and hits his property. He also wants a health and safety risk assessment to protect other homeowners and the general public while a match is on.

David Harris, chairman of the cricket club, said it had done all it could to meet Burgess half way and said its future was in doubt if the court ruled against them.

The club has a policy of paying for replacement windows and roof tiles caused by their cricketers.

Burgess, 54, a clinical audit specialist, said: “This has nothing to do with stopping cricket, I like cricket, but the injunction is designed to instigate what needs to be done to create a safe environment.” (ANI)