Club Cricket Conference

Wednesday, 24th April 2024

Radlett CC disrupted by delay and galloping horses

By Charles Randall

28 July 2012

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Radlett CC opened their £600,000 pavilion extension and refurbishment at Cobden Hill recently, an exciting joint project to provide Middlesex with a training base, but the mid-table season in the Home Counties Premier League second tier continued to prove disappointing, not helped by stampeding horses.

Building work was delayed due to unforeseen structural problems in the gabled 1938 building, which left the Hertfordshire club without a pavilion and bar for the first three months of the season. After the official opening by Andrew Strauss on July 10, Radlett's first use of the sumptuous dressing rooms ended in a 16-run defeat by Hemel Hempstead.

The turf was less than pristine after a herd of horses had galloped over groundsman Nick Searle's manicured outfield and caused especially serious damage to Radlett's second adjoining ground. The couple of dozen animals had escaped from a nearby field where they had been put to graze without permission. Fortunately no serious dents were made in the main square while the horses were driven back cowboy-style to their starting field.

Under a new captain Jonathan McLean, Radlett look unlikely to bounce straight back to the top level from Division Two East after a surge to the top by North Mymms, inspired by the former Gloucestershire batsman Steve Snell, but the presence of the classy McLean, formerly Hampshire, now Berkshire, has stiffened the batting. The prospects for 2013 look good after this year's rain and building disruption.

The extended pavilion and top-rate facilities -- Middlesex cannot store equipment at Lord's -- add another chapter to Radlett's history as a regular home ground for Middlesex 2nd XI and MCC Young Cricketers. The club's most famous past players have been Douglas Jardine, Richard Hutton and Donald Carr, while the home product John Carr must be one of the best batsmen never to have played for England.

North Mymms quickly opened a gap at the top of the table for the one promotion slot, though Nick Hodgin's five wickets against Radlett took Hemel Hempstead to an impressive double and closer to the leaders.