£1,000 grass-cutting grant for old cricket ground

by Dave Barry

The former Oriel cricket ground on Scarborough’s South Cliff has won £1,000 worth of grass-cutting.

Since Oriel Cricket Club stopped playing there, after nearly a century, the ground has been maintained by a trust called the Friends of Oriel.

Trust members, mostly local residents, keep the place tidy, replant trees, repair the brick walls, etc. They try to prevent vandalism and fly-tipping.

Adults walk dogs and have picnics; children play football and cricket.

“They love that open space, with nothing on it”, says Monica Driver, who chairs the trust and  whose house overlooks the ground.

The ground was formerly owned by a trust established by Rowntree & Co for the use of their staff.

When trust members died, they weren’t replaced and the son of the last trustee inherited it. But he lived in York and had no real interest.

The Friends were formed to run the ground as a public open space.

Before Oriel CC folded, three clubs used it. They generated just enough revenue to cover expenses - grass cutting, Portaloo hire, pitch materials, water rates, etc.

Now, Scarborough Council, via its community environment fund, has awarded a grant of £1,000 to assist with the cost of grass cutting.

Cllr Martin Smith said: “We know how important green open spaces are to local residents so we are delighted to be able to award the grant to assist the community in maintaining the ground to a good condition”.

Anyone who would like to get involved with the Friends of Oriel or could help regularly or occasionally with the upkeep of the ground should email Monica Driver at friendsoforiel@gmail.com.