Ash­worth still go­ing strong

Vet­eran has ap­peared in ev­ery sea­son of Chiltern cricket league A&C loses ap­peal for new pitch

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPORT - By Tim Street tim.street@trin­i­tymir­

Phil Ash­worth is be­lieved to be the only player to have played all 40 sea­sons of the league

The 56-year-old is be­lieved to be the only player to have played in ev­ery sin­gle sea­son of the Mor­rant Chiltern Cricket League as it cel­e­brates its 40th an­niver­sary.

The slow bowler and late or­der bats­man is still a regular for Den­ham’s sec­onds in Di­vi­sion Four and helped the league lead­ers to a 115-run win over Bray­wood sec­onds on Satur­day.

The wily vet­eran re­turned fig­ures of 2-5 from just 3.1 overs, although he was over­shad­owed by the all-round ef­forts of Gary Hales, who scored 166 be­fore tak­ing 3-21.

Ash­worth said: “My dad, Ron, started play­ing for Den­ham in the 1960s and played un­til 1984.

“I started in 1975, so for a few sea­sons in the 1970s there were times when we would be play­ing in the same side.”

Although en­joy­ing few sea­sons in the first team, Ash­worth has been a main­stay of the sec­onds over the years. His best bowl­ing fig­ures of 8-24 came

a against Hawridge & Choles­bury in 2008, the year in which he claimed a ca­reer-best 33 scalps, and his best bat­ting to­tal of 46 not out came un­der some­what strange cir­cum­stances in 1986.

Ash­worth said: “For 11 years I was also our grounds­man, and on this par­tic­u­lar day I was pre­par­ing the wicket for the firsts be­fore trav­el­ling to Chal­font St Giles to play for the sec­onds, and only got there five min­utes be­fore the start – which wasn’t ideal as I was open­ing the bat­ting back then.

“The coach shouted at me to let the big hit­ters get the runs and just try to not get out, and I FRUS­TRATED Amer­sham & Chal­font Hockey Club are ap­peal­ing a de­ci­sion by Chiltern Dis­trict Coun­cil to turn down their plans for a new ar­ti­fi­cial pitch and club­house.

The club, which has the fourth largest hockey youth sec­tion in the coun­try, with some 500 young­sters, lodged plans for a new fa­cil­ity on land next to Amer­sham & Wy­combe Col­lege’s Stan­ley Hill cam­pus ear­lier this year.

A hous­ing devel­op­ment is due to be built at the club’s cur­rent home at the for­mer Bucks New Uni­ver­sity cam­pus, in Chal­font St Peter, and although sports fa­cil­i­ties will be in­cluded they will not be ready for an­other five years.

De­spite the club say­ing the new fa­cil­i­ties are es­sen­tial for its sur­vival, the coun­cil’s plan­ning com­mit­tee gave it the thumbs down, say­ing the green belt land should re­main open to all and that the flood­lights would be seen for miles, while dis­miss­ing hockey as a fringe sport. man­aged to stay in through­out the innings.”

Then there was the time he bowled to for­mer Eng­land one-day wicket-keeper Ian Gould in Den­ham’s cen­te­nary game in 1992 and was promptly hit to all parts of the ground. Or the time against Coleshill in 1994 when he came in to bat with Den­ham strug­gling at 130-8 chas­ing 213 to win, and promptly put on a stand of 84 with Jeff Simp­son to se­cure victory.

Ash­worth added: “I was an open­ing bats­man to start with but moved fur­ther down the or­der as the years went by and bat at 11 now. I hope to con­tinue play­ing and con­tribut­ing for many years to

How­ever, club chair­man Peter Rowl­ins in­sisted that the flood­lights would not af­fect a sin­gle res­i­dent and pointed out that the pro­posed site is on the col­lege’s land, so is not open for any­one to use any­way.

He also made clear that, with some 600 mem­bers, the hockey club is the sec­ond largest sports club in the area, and with the pro­posed fa­cil­i­ties be­ing used by the col­lege, as well as Amer­sham School, it would ben­e­fit about 8,000 young­sters.

Rowl­ins tweeted: “Will be go­ing to ap­peal shortly. Good chance of get­ting ap­proval as many sim­i­lar prece­dents. Shame that coun­cil wastes so much money on plan­ning ap­peals that it loses. Coun­cil has about 70 per cent loss rate.”

A&C play­ers also vented their dis­gust, with James Easter tweet­ing: “So much for the #olympi­cle­gacy – NIMBYism rears its ugly head”.

Andy Watts tweeted: “New astro would do far more as a sub­stan­tial Olympic le­gacy in the dis­trict.” come. I just try to en­joy play­ing and am lucky enough to play for a side with a great team spirit.”

Den­ham’s firsts, mean­while, lost by 47 runs to Holy­port in Di­vi­sion One, while lead­ers Penn & Tylers Green drew with Taplow. Chal­font St Giles lost to Bin­field by eight wickets and Great King­shill went down by 28 runs to Lit­tlewick Green.

Amer­sham Hill drew with Bin­field sec­onds, while Coleshill beat Bray­wood by six wickets, in Di­vi­sion Two, while The Lee lost by 144 runs to Harps­den in Di­vi­sion Three, and Winch­more Hill beat Pinner sec­onds by five wickets in Di­vi­sion Four.

Photo by Katie Lamb www.buyapho­ BE153578


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