VILLAGE cricketers have been left stumped after being told they cannot score a six from one end of their ground, because they say a neighbour has threatened legal action.
For more than 30 years, village players at Britwell Salome Cricket Club have been using willow to wallop the ball over the boundary at its ground for maximum runs.
But this season the club has had to introduce a rule that even if a batsman hits a six from one end, it will not count.
Instead the umpire will declare a dead ball.
The club, which is more than 85 years old and has been playing at its current ground for more than 30 years, has said it received a letter from a law firm on behalf of a woman who lives next to the ground, who is fed up with cricket balls coming into her garden.
Nigel Joyner, the chairman of the club, said the lady had moved into the house in the village near Wallingford around five years ago.
He said: “I got a letter from a firm of solicitors in Oxford telling me that I had to comply with some rules otherwise she would seek an injunction because balls had gone into her garden.
“When she bought the house I spoke to the estate agent and she was told that she was buying a house 45 yards from a wicket.
“There has been a house there for the last 70 or 80 years and it begs the question why we are having to deal with this for one person.”
In a bid to appease the resident, the club said it had already spent around £5,000 on masts and netting to stop the ball entering her garden, which Mr Joyner says has “bankrupted” the club.
Stuart Symes, the club’s captain, said: “This arrangement has come out of some negotiation and discussion with the resident.
“From a cricketer’s perspective it is not ideal but it will be the same for both teams and will only apply at one end of the ground.
“I suspect that it will affect the scores of both teams, but in the average game there are only three or four sixes scored.
“It is going to be a bit of a change but we’re going to have to adjust to it.”
Britwell Salome plays its first game of the season tomorrow away against Hailey.
A spokesman for Oxfordshire Cricket Association said the rule was introduced by the club and the matter is a local issue between the club and the resident.
The Oxford Mail visited the resident’s house but has received no comment.