Wednesday, April 9, 2014

News: Cricketers set boundaries for ground discussions

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The "terms and conditions, financial and otherwise" required by Rotherham Town Cricket Club, in order for Rotherham Titans to play its remaining home games at Clifton Lane included a £2,500 donation, a request to ensure that the ground is fit and prepared for play, further negotiations with Sky TV over the playoff fixture and a deadline of March 31 to conclude the negotiations.

Rotherham Titans, the town's rugby club, stated last week that the terms required by cricket club, the other team who play home games at the site on the edge of Rotherham town centre, has made it impossible to stage the remaining games at Clifton Lane.

The match with rivals Leeds Carnegie on April 19 and hopefully a play-off fixture on the weekend of May 10/11 are set to be played at Abbeydale in Sheffield.

Clifton Lane is owned by Rotherham Athletic Company with the 1905 lease stating that the cricketers use the field from mid-April. Jim Dixon, honorary secretary of Rotherham Town Cricket Club has confirmed that its fixtures had been rearranged to accommodate the Leeds game on April 19 but the insistence of Sky TV and the RFU for the playoff game to be filmed would have meant that there would be insufficient time to repair the outfield to a safe condition for cricket to be played.

The cricket club were prepared to change its fixtures again if Sky TV and its cameras would not be at the playoff fixture in May.

In a statement from the cricket club, Dixon also confirmed that the club had asked for a £2,500 donation which it considered to be "of little more value than their previous donations of some years ago" which was subsequently agreed to by the rugby club. It also stressed that the rugby club must meet their obligations under the terms of its tenancy to ensure that the ground is fit and prepared for the playing of the other club's sport at the start of their taking over the ground.

With negotiations continuing from January, a deadline of March 31 was set but at a meeting at the Town Hall last week, the Titans confirmed that it would play its remaining "home" fixtures in Sheffield.

Having played at Clifton Lane since 1846, the cricket club has considered relocating to an alternative site in the borough for the longer term but without financial support from the council or the sport's governing bodies, no location can be found that offers them the legal status that they currently get at Clifton Lane.

In the statement Dixon said that "relationships between the two clubs on a day to day basis have never been better" and that "we are more than happy to try and work with the rugby club to resolve our difficulties.

"We acknowledge that there are some entrenched individuals on both sides who think they have old scores to settle or who have their own hidden agendas and are not prepared to move forward. If we are prepared to put the past and old scores behind us we can move forward.

"A simple solution to our problems, in the short term would be for the RFU to consider the plight of clubs in our position and take account of the overlapping seasons when they arrange their fixtures."

Were the Titans to gain promotion back into the premiership, its ground would need to meet strict criteria set by the RFU, the governing body for the sport in England. Clifton Lane does not, and development would be difficult so Oakwell in Barnsley has been put forward as an alternative.

Rotherham Town Cricket Club website
Rotherham Titans website

Images: Rotherham Town CC / Facebook

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