By Charles Randall
24 September 2013
One of England's most evocative village grounds, the home of Sheepscombe CC featured in Laurie Lee's novel Cider with Rosie, is being purchased to guarantee its survival after years of rent-free usage.
Sheepscombe's quirky rustic ground is perched on a sloping shelf of turf above the Slad valley near Stroud. The cricket club is a fascinating diversion for any tourist with a feel for the game and a love of the Cotswolds countryside.
An appeal for £25,000 to purchase the land from the Laurie Lee estate has reached the halfway point. The novelist purchased the ground in 1971 as a supporter of Sheepscombe since boyhood, and his uncles played regularly for the club. He returned to live in nearby Slad as a local celebrity after the success of his novel, published in 1959, and he remained a familiar face at the cricket club and locality until his death in 1997. John Light, the president of Gloucestershire County Cricket and distantly related to Lee, this year became patron of the Stump Up For Sheepscombe appeal, launched in June.
The Sheepscombe chairman Elisabeth Skinner said: "The field is a wonderful facility not just for the cricket club but for the wider community. It is a much valued resource for the school and we desperately want to secure the ground to help the up and coming young players flourish."
Sheepscombe play in Division Four of the Gloucestershire County League, finishing in the lower middle of the table. Survival of village clubs in the area has remained a worry, with Leckhampton CC folding in 2012.