Cats' pavilion arson overshadows second victory
CATERHAM'S win over Shepperton was overshadow by an arson attack that burnt down their newly-built pavilion.
The pavilion was just on the verge of opening after their previous stand was burnt down in 2004, however local residents were awoken in the early hours of Saturday morning to find the new construction, which cost around £70,000 to build, up in flames.
The burning timbers also singed the nearby cricket nets which had been set up on a community CricketForce day on April 29, to prepare the club for the upcoming season.
The fire gutted the unfurnished wooden pavilion which is shared by Caterham Cricket Club and Caterham School, who paid for the new building. It was due to open within weeks.
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Club member Colin Mico believes the attack will affect more than the cricket team.
"Although Caterham school had agreed to fund the purchase, the cricket club were to have full use of it at the weekends so that players had a refuge in the event of bad weather and somewhere to put on their kit," Mico said. "It was also to be important for the winter sports as it was to provide our female lacrosse players somewhere to change away from the rugby players.
"Until the school kindly stepped in, we had costed out a project to fund a smaller structure from grants and fundraising events, so we have a huge emotional attachment to the pavilion, plus we spent a large part of CricketForce raising the height of our fences to protect against just this sort of attack."
Cricket club chairman Graham Samuels said of the attack: "It was a kick in the teeth and we are all very disappointed.
"It is a shame and not just for us but also for the colts teams and their parents who use it – and the other sports who were to use the pavilion as well."
But the chairman insists it won't stop Caterham's Fuller's League home fixtures from going ahead this summer.
"We will just carry on as we have for the last couple of years," Samuels said. "We were looking forward to using the pavilion but we will go back to using the gazebo and if we get wet and cold then we will get wet and cold I guess."
Despite the terrible news of earlier in the day, Caterham travelled to Shepperton on Saturday and returned home with their second win of the season.
Although early in the season the Queen's Park club are top of Division One – and long may that be the case, said Samuels.
"I hope we stay up there," he said. "It is going to be an important season this season as the league have plans to split up.
"At best we are obviously aiming for promotion to the Surrey Championship, but should that not happen we want to end up in the top split of the Fuller's League."
Samuels was in action for the first team at Shepperton and put the news of the arson behind him enough to produce some superb bowling, taking 8-47.
"It wasn't a bad game considering how wet the ground was," Samuels said. "I was pleased with my bowling form."
Surrey Police are appealing for witnesses to the incident which they are treating as suspicious. They would like to trace four children seen in the area earlier the same day.
They are three boys, one who was wearing a burgundy hoodie, and a girl with long blonde hair, wearing a peach top.