Devastated cricket clubs tackle damage

Halifax Cricket League president David Normanton has described the level of flooding which hit clubs on Boxing Day as “unprecedented.”

Valley bottom clubs Sowerby Bridge, Bridgeholme and Copley were the worst hit and Mytholmroyd’s pitch was also under water.

The big clean-up at Bridgeholme Cricket Club, after the Boxing Day floods, 2015

The big clean-up at Bridgeholme Cricket Club, after the Boxing Day floods, 2015

The YCB and ECB have set up an emergency fund to help affected clubs and Normanton said: “The clubs are strong and used to floods but things are really bad this time.”

At Sowerby Bridge’s Walton Street ground, which staged this year’s Parish Cup final, the water level rose an estimated 18 to 20 feet.

It got into the clubhouse for the first time, reaching above the level of the work surfaces in the kitchen.

Club president Tim Helliwell snr said a “tsunami” had come rushing down the Calder with devastating effect.

“We’ve lost everything - the kitchen, the toilets, the bar. We’ve just got a shell left.”

Even the floor would have to come up.

Helliwell said the club had held an emergency meeting at the Sportsman, Greetland on Tuesday and were appealing to the community for help. Fund-raising events were being planned.

“There is silt on the field but that is the least of our worries at the moment because we have so much to do in the club. Out aim is to make sure we are able to play in April.”

Bridgeholme has been flooded several times in recent years and on each occasion groundsman Keith Hudson and club members have painstakingly repaired the damage.

But this time Hudson is worried that it may be impossible to restore his small but immaculate ground at Eastwood to its former glory.

He said: “It is the worst ever. I keep finding areas that are worse than I first imagined.

“Walls have moved, bankings have collapsed, sheds have been moved off their footings and benches have gone.”

Bridgeholme had water a foot deep in the clubhouse and there was six inches of water in the tackle shed, but equipment was undamaged.

Hudson said the clean up task would take several weeks. “To be honest I’m not even sure we can clean it to an acceptable standard to play cricket on, it’s that bad.

Hudson described himself as “heartbroken, drained, knackered” and added: “I never thought I would see it like this again.”

Copley’s pavilion was hit. John Cliff said: “The good news is that upstairs is ok. The bad news is that downstairs is a total mess.

“The main problem is that the floor has lifted six to 12 inches in the downstairs function room with the underfloor heating exposed .”

Electric sockets had been ripped from walls and the beer cellar had a foot of water at the start of the week.

Water got into the scorebox and tackle shed at Mytholmroyd.