Pitch vandalism reignites community cricket squabble in New Winthorpes

1. Reports are that vandals removed the covers from the pitch and used a sharp object to vandalise the pitch.
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By Neto Baptiste

The recent destruction of a cricket pitch at the New Winthorpes playing field between Wednesday night and the wee hours of Thursday this week, may just have been the last straw for a group of individuals conducting a cricket camp in that community.

One member of the group and renowned entrepreneur and race car driver, Renée Edwards-Ambrose, told Observer that grounds men discovered the partially dug up pitch on Thursday morning after they had rolled and covered it the night before.

This, she said, ironically came just one day after they were visited by the police who said they had received a report that the group had been using the field without permission, in what she describes as an ongoing struggle with the community’s sports club.

Several areas of the pitch were visible dug up. (Social media photo)

“What I suggested is that we make a report because, clearly, if they could have made a report that we were using the pitch without permission when we have evidence that we actually got permission, then we make a report that this is what is happening. So I am not sure what is going to happen from now; I think we have to sit down as a group now and decide the next course of action,” she said.

Ambrose explained that the “back and forth” started when she took on the challenge of working with West Indies women’s player, Shawnisha Hector, after she had lost her contract with the Cricket West Indies (CWI).

“It was like a back and forth banter with who we have to go to and get permission from to utilise the field, but I said no problem. I decided, on behalf of the group, to write to the community sports club asking for permission. I explained to them that initially, it was just Britney [Shawnisha Hector] but then it blossomed into more than just her as we had up to about 35 [children] at one point that actually came to practice and we got a letter to cease and desist from using the field,” she said.

She revealed that at one point, the issues had forced the group to move its activities to Pigotts playing field after law enforcement stopped them late last year. Ambrose added, however, that a lack of transportation for the young players saw them returning to New Winthorpes shortly after.

“On the 17th October last year, the [children were] on the field practicing and we saw the police come and we thought that it didn’t make sense because we had been doing this for the last six weeks. Having a conversation with the officers, we learnt that someone had called the police and the minister and said to them that we were having a game on the field,” Ambrose said.

“We had gone out to corporate Antigua to look for shields for the children for that Saturday and one of the mobile providers in Antigua had given us some tents and also gave us shirts. I don’t know if it had looked like a game from wherever that person was standing, but it really wasn’t a game, so we explained to the police officer that we understood, so no problem,” she added.

Ambrose said he body will meet and decide the way forward for the programme.

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