A historic cricket match on Sunday heralded the return of leather on willow to Petworth Park.
It was the result of a year of planning and hard work by a group of cricket lovers headed by Alex Rees, who are keen to revive the Petworth Park Cricket Club (PPCC) and bring the sport to the younger generation in the town.
The first match started at 2pm when the reborn PPCC’s opening batsmen walked out to face The Leconfield XI in a friendly 20 over match . Alex Rees, PPCC chairman, told the Observer: “A good crowd of spectators enjoyed the entertainment from the boundary including families, ex-players, local people from Petworth and Lord and Lady Egremont who are pleased to support the return of cricket to the park.” The Leconfield Estate captain Aaron Carter won the toss at the first of the match and put the hosts in to bat first. The PPCC team went on to post 104 for six wickets after recovering from some early setbacks. The Leconfield Estate reply gained momentum throughout, and Adam Downing’s well paced 39 not out, saw them over the line with three balls to spare.
“It was a close finish,” said Alex. “A good game was the perfect outcome on a sunny day in the park, and the players enjoyed a traditional cricket tea in the pavilion afterwards. “Although Sunday’s game feels like the end of a long journey, it’s also only the beginning for PPCC.
“We have a few friendly fixtures this summer, and are already planning a full programme of matches for 2018.” Alex unveiled the ambitious plans to bring cricket back to Petworth Park at the annual town meeting last year and shortly afterwards launched the campaign with an event to encourage support. Passionate about the sport, he has been involved most of his life as a player and captaining sides. He is also a qualified groundsman and a level 2 coach. For information on upcoming cricket and ways to get involved, visit www.petworthparkcricket.org