Owzat for Kings Hill
Kent’s newest cricket pitch was given the seal of approval by legendary spin bowler ‘Deadly’ Derek Underwood when he opened the Kings Hill Cricket Club ground.
The ground is at the heart of Kings Hill, which is being developed as a mixed-use community by Liberty Property Trust UK Ltd, and is one of the many leisure and sports amenities on site.
To celebrate the opening the Kings Hill Cricket Club organised a match between teams of children from the two primary schools at Kings Hill and from the Kent VI Cricket Club for those with visual impairment. In the afternoon Kings Hill played Town Malling in a 40-over match.
The new ground is surrounded by trees and has a traditional white weatherboarded pavilion, complete with clock tower. Many local families joined the celebrations and proceeds from a barbecue and the new bar, provided by Shepherd Neame, raised nearly £3,000 for the club.
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 – formally handed over the keys to Kings Hill Cricket Club chairman Brian Bell.
“Village cricket is so much a part of our culture and we are delighted to have been able to provide yet another recreational facility at Kings Hill,” he said. “I know our cricket club is delighted to have somewhere to call home and I am looking forward to watching some exciting matches.”
Liberty is sponsoring the club and, to help it become established, will not be charging any rent for the first three years. After that there will only be a nominal charge. 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.
The club is in talks with the Kent VI Cricket Club about using the ground, which would make it one of only two cricket clubs with disability provision and the only village club in the country with VI (visual impairment) provision. Additionally it is in talks for the use by Kent girls at various representative levels.
The Kings Hill Cricket Club was founded four years ago and until now could only play away matches. Chairman Brian Bell said: “We are a vibrant club and always looking to attract new members and I am sure the new ground will help with this. 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.”