Open to the public Monday-Sunday
Hiring: Contact the Sports Field Committee.

2015 Report

It is now eight years since the start of re-development of the Sports Field from meadow to a fully functioning facility that we see before us today.

When you pass the Sports Field these days, particularly at weekends, you are most likely to see some activity carrying on. The cricket club use the facilities on a Tuesday evening for net practice, Friday evenings for Junior Cricket coaching and on Sundays for the Senior team Home games. You will also soon start to see junior cricket matches taking place during the weekday evenings as their season gets underway.

The Football Club, junior section, have their home matches on a Saturday morning and train on a Sunday afternoon. They too are a thriving club and next season are looking to introduce at least one new team to the junior ranks (making three in total).

Apart from the village cricket and football clubs using the field, we have hired the senior football pitch out on several occasions throughout the winter to a team from Winslow. This has brought in valuable income in addition to the regular income our cricket and football clubs bring to the Sports Field.

Furthermore on 16th May and 6th June Buckingham Town Cricket Club (third team) are playing host for two of their league matches, weather permitting.

Although external hire has increased this year, the Sports Field committee’s philosophy will continue to remain focused on our village teams taking priority over others.

Away from the cricket and football pitches the Trim Trail is well used but after 5 or 6 years of heavy use this now needs some money spent on it to bring the landing pits or base areas up to standard. One of our major expenditures in the year ahead will be to re-new the timber edgings and top up the bark landing surfaces.

The Nature trail has been well used throughout the winter by North Marston School as part of their Forest Schools. The school will continue to use the nature trail throughout the school year, and the pavilion, which is made available to them for toilets and washing facilities.

During the past year we have laid land drains to the front of the brick store shed, helping to alleviate the waterlogging here. This can be helped further by fixing guttering to the building and thereby reducing the amount of water which drains onto the plateau in front of the building. We will be looking to fund this work during 2015 and, all being well, this will be the area for the picnic benches.

One bench is already in place and more are planned, subject to funding. This area sits elevated above the field of play and is a perfect position for watching activities on the field.

We have constructed a wide set of timber steps and paving from the pavilion down onto the outfield, as the bank was steep here and was considered a safety hazard when the ground was wet. The steps have certainly improved the safe entry onto the field and enhanced the area immediately in front of the pavilion.

We have also installed a narrow set of timber steps from the car park down to the outfield. Again this had been a hazardous journey in the past when the ground was wet.

The area at the far end of the car park has been levelled and grass-seeded and will soon become part of the mowing regime once established. This has tidied up an otherwise unsightly area.

New fencing has also been installed alongside the boundary hedge here and this is proving very effective, behind the goal, in stopping footballs from entering the thorn hedge.

On the opposite side of the field in the cricket practise area, we have lifted the turf from the bowlers end of the cricket nets, levelled out the very uneven surface, and then re-laid the turf. This has been successful and has greatly improved the area for those who use the nets.

We continue to work to improve the outfield and to maintain good playing surfaces. It would be beneficial if we could employ the services of a specialist contractor to weed-treat the Sports Field but this is a costly exercise at approx £400 per treatment. At present however, we have other priorities on which to use our limited funds. The weeds are increasing across the field due to the proximity of the surrounding pastures, one of which does exhibit a huge amount of thistles so we will need to tackle this problem in the future, perhaps on a bi-annual basis.

As in previous seasons, we do rely heavily on a group of volunteers to carry out most of the jobs. The Sports Field Committee are indebted to these people and would like to take this opportunity to thank them for giving up their time free of charge. Most of these volunteers are members of the cricket and football clubs but we would also welcome anyone else who thinks they can assist us in any way, be it with practical or administrative help.

The Sports Field continues to allow dog owners to exercise their dogs but of late we have noticed an increase in owners not clearing up behind their dogs. Despite notices being placed on the main gate, the problem still exits and we must therefore tackle this problem more aggressively. Further notices will be erected but ultimately if this has no effect then the Sports Field Committee, in conjunction with the Parish Council, will consider other options.

Changing the subject, the Sports Field Committee would like to record and express its appreciation and sincere thanks to Karen Parks who has moved away from North Marston down to the South Coast.  Karen was Chair of the Sports Field Committee for six years and led the Sports Field project from inception through to completion, spending hundreds of hours during that time on Sports Field related business.

The longstanding committee has remained in place and will continue to work together to maintain the Sports Field to its present high standard for the future enjoyment of all users.

And finally, our thanks and appreciation goes to North Marston Parish Council and Granborough Parish Council for your continued support.

Thank you.

On behalf of the Sports Field Committee
Chairman – Trevor Lane, Secretary - Andy Keegan, Members - Gordon Bowden, Barry Kirwan, Ian Mordue, Jon Martin, Helen Shotton.