Cricket legend opens new ground

Cricket legend opens new ground

One of the oldest cricket clubs in the county will be playing one of the newest on Saturday July 17 at the opening of the Kings Hill Cricket Club ground.

Legendary spin bowler 'Deadly' Derek Underwood will perform the opening ceremony when Andrew Blevins, managing director of Liberty Property Trust UK Ltd - which, together with Kings Hill development partner Kent County Council, donated the use of the ground and built the pavilion for the club - will hand over the keys to cricket club chairman Brian Bell.

The Kings Hill Cricket Club was founded four years ago, but with no home ground it could only play away games. Now that has changed, with an immaculate pitch and traditional white weather-boarded pavilion with clock tower which will become a flagship ground for the development of young cricketers, boys and girls, from the area.

It was developed with the help of Peter Robinson from the Tonbridge and Malling District Cricket Partnership of the Kent Cricket Board, which is the County Governing body of the England and Wales Cricket Board. This new cricket ground is an example of a facility provided for the community by a developer, designed and constructed with reference to published ECB Technical Specifications.

Situated near the Discovery School at the heart of Kings Hill, the new village cricket green adds to the growing list of sports amenities at the development. The ground will also be available for hire ­ for example to businesses who want to organise a corporate Twenty20 match or to individuals who want a match with friends.

To celebrate the opening, Kings Hill will play Town Malling whose ground is reputed to be the site of the first recorded cricket match in Kent. Charles Dickens is thought to have used the pitch as the setting for the cricket match between All-Muggleton and Dingley Dell in OEThe Pickwick Papers (, the original illustration for which appeared on the back of the £10 note featuring Dickens.

Before the official opening there will be a youth cricket match played between the two local Primary Schools, with the 40-over Kings Hill v Town Malling match in the afternoon. There will be a barbecue as well as a display of classic military vehicles ­ and a great opportunity for locals to get together and have fun.

"We are a vibrant club and always looking to attract new members and I am sure the new ground will help with this," said Brian Bell, chairman of the Kings Hill Cricket Club. "It will be great to be able to play at home and reciprocate the hospitality given to us by the teams we play.

"We already have 30 members, all of whom either live or work at Kings Hill, and although we are only fielding one team this year we are hoping to field two next year and two adult teams and one colts team the year after. We will also be offering youth coaching next year."

Everyone is welcome to attend the opening and support the local teams. "It should be an exciting day", said Andrew Blevins. "The new ground is a great addition to the leisure amenities at Kings Hill and I know our cricket club is delighted to have somewhere to call home.

"We will be sponsoring the club and, to help it become established, we will not be charging any rent for the first three years, and after that there will only be a nominal charge."

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