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Charlton Kings Cricket Club is fighting on

The Cheltonian is joining the campaign to save Charlton Kings Cricket Club one of the country’s oldest clubs, which is threatened with closure over a patch of land, which has been used by cricketers since 1885.

The Greenway Lane club in Charlton Kings, Cheltenham, has been used by generations of villagers to stage matches and train teams and currently has 170 young players associated with the club. The club has maintained a 'gentleman's agreement' with the landowner to use a patch of his land as an outfield area, which makes up a fifth of the Ryeworth Fields pitch.

But following the death of Henry Arthur Mitchell, his millionaire American widow Jacki Mitchell has staked a legal claim to the land, on the grounds that the club had no right of ownership and it belonged to her late husband. The club has since been locked in a lengthy High Court battle with Mrs Mitchell over this patch of land - just 1,618 square metres in size.

The 18-month legal wrangle over their Ryeworth Fields home was due to end at the High Court in Birmingham on March 1 after a four day trial, but a last minute legal point meant that judge Mr Justice Morgan felt he had no choice but to adjourn it until June.

The court battle has already cost the club around £80k and the final figure is now likely to be well over £100k. Charlton Kings’ development officer Geoff White said: “It’s an incredibly frustrating situation for everybody, we are very disappointed but we will keep fighting.

“I cannot stress enough that if we lose this case it will potentially spell the end of a hugely successful club."

The adjournment of the trial will allow legal teams to look into an apparent tenancy agreement between the club and the landowners drawn up in 1947. In order to give themselves the best possible chance of survival they are attempting to raise vital funds to support their case through a number of special events. They held a special dinner and auction of ECB memorabilia at Cheltenham Racecourse during the recent Festival and several other events are in the pipeline.

Charlton Kings is also keen to try and harness financial support from any potential cricket benefactors who may have been previously unaware of their plight.

Geoff said: “It is very difficult for a club our size to generate the huge sums of money that are needed for a legal battle like this. We desperately need help and I would welcome an opportunity to discuss our situation with any major cricket benefactors who might be keen to support us.”

To help Charlton Kings Cricket Club continue their fight to keep their club afloat they are urging people to give what they can via PayPal at www.charltonkingscc.com. If you are able to offer your assistance to Charlton Kings in anyway please contact Geoff White on geoffwhite771@btinternet.com or 07721 602493.