Relief as new home found for Cannock Cricket Club
Cannock Cricket Club has found a new home after being forced out of its former base.
Club bosses are to take over the ground of neighbouring cricket club C&R Hawks –who are vacating a ground in Littleworth Road, Rawnsley.
Members of the Cannock club unanimously voted to take over the lease at the ground at a meeting last week.
They had been forced out of their home at Chase Park in June after receivers were called in to the site in Church Lane, Hatherton.
C&R Hawks will move to their second ground at Hawkins Sports & Social Club, in Cheslyn Hay, where they will continue with a reduced number of teams.
The South Staffs County League club disbanded after Saturday's final round of league fixtures.
Cannock CC honorary secretary Graham Machin said the move provides the club with a chance to rebuild and comes as a huge relief – and also offers the opportunity to retain cricket at the Littleworth Road site.
“It’s a massive weight off our minds,” said Mr Machin.
“Obviously the move is very good news for us but we also understand it will be a huge wrench for some members of C&R Hawks to move from their home.
“We will be contacting parents of junior members to offer them the chance to keep playing cricket with us at Littleworth Road.
"We’d love to welcome them, it’s been their club for a long time and the most important thing is to keep people, especially youngsters, playing cricket.”
Cannock CC’s former home at Chase Park was sold at auction to multi-millionaire businessman Mo Chaudry in July.
However, that deal collapsed when Mr Chaudry – owner of the Waterworld leisure complex in Stoke-on-Trent who once appeared on TV’s The Secret Millionaire – pulled out of the £1.45 million sale.
It is understood the sale could now be the subject of potentially protracted delays as legal issues are thrashed out.
Hawks chairman Bob Watson said: “Cannock came along at the right time, it was the perfect fit for them."
“They are a bigger club, they have got more members and they can keep cricket at the ground, which is the most important thing.
“Cricket has been played at this ground since 1878 and we wanted it to continue.
“And with Cannock playing here it means our junior players will have somewhere to play cricket.
“All the juniors will be looked after by Cannock.
“They have promised to take on any players who want to join them, which is good of them.”
C&R Hawks fielded three Saturday sides, one on Sundays and also ran junior teams at under-9 and 15, after Hawkins CC joined forces with Cannock & Rugeley at Littleworth Road in 2014.
The club enjoyed some impressive success on the field with the first team winning Division Three of the Birmingham League and the Birmingham League T20 competition in 2017 on their way to making the National ECB club T20 finals day in front of the Sky TV cameras at Derbyshire.
The club finished as runners-up in Division Two of the Birmingham League in 2018, but were denied promotion and a place in the top two divisions following Midlands-wide restructure of club cricket due to their ground not meeting the required standards.
As a result, they dropped back into the South Staffs League. But the campaign has petered out into a mid-table finish and now the decision has been made to disband.
“We started 12 years ago at Hawkins in the Staffs Clubs and it took us six years to get to the Birmingham League,” said Mr Watson.
“This was our sixth season as C&R Hawks and we have had a fantastic run really.
“We got to the National T20 finals day which was screened on Sky and we won Division Three of the Birmingham League and finished second in Division Two.
“I would like to pay tribute to the captains that made us successful – Mubeen Rashid, Zarheer Suliman and James Lawley.”