KIDLINGTON CC last night paid the price for years of wrongdoing when they were kicked out of The Oxford Times Cherwell League.
The Stratfield Brake club made an impassioned plea for leniency at an extraordinary general meeting at Bicester & North Oxford CC. But their fellow clubs showed no mercy, and gave them the boot – something which could sound the death knell for the club. Kidlington faced two proposals of expulsion.
One came from a gang of ten clubs – Abingdon Vale, Aston Rowant, Banbury Twenty, Bourton Vale, Buckingham Town, Cropredy, Dinton, Long Marston, Horspath and Twyford – and one from the league executive.
The two proposals were voted on as one in a secret ballot – with a two-thirds majority of those who voted needed for the motion to be carried.
And the result, which was announced by chairman Martin Phillips, saw 27 clubs in favour of Kidlington being thrown out with ten against, and three abstentions.
It sparked an emotional outburst from Kidlington vice-chairman John Moss, who said: “It’s a disgrace for cricket” as he stormed out of the Tudor Jones Pavilion with a group of clubmates.
Kidlington chairman Neil Woolerton shook hands with Phillips, league secretary Peter Tomlin and executive member Clive Ricks before saying: “You should be ashamed of yourselves, the lot of you.”
And before finally departing, Moss added: “Legal representation Monday.”
It was an undignified exit by Kidlington, especially after the way Woolerton had addressed the meeting earlier – a speech which drew a round of applause from his supporters. He said: “If we are successful tonight we are very committed, and I myself am personally, that we will operate within the parameters of the Cherwell League rules and the spirit of the game.
“We want people to enjoy our facilities and we want to become a valued member of the Cherwell League going forward.
“Clearly we have made errors – some we accept and and some we dispute.
“Myself and John Moss have tried to rectify the errors. We have moved people away from the management of Kidlington Cricket Club, and some have left the cricket club.
“We have Clubmark status – one of 12 clubs in Oxfordshire. We bring youngsters through into the first team and do a tremendous amount of work in the schools, and we have some fantastic facilities.
“We have 100-150 members who simply want to play. Volunteers who put their heart and soul into this club to do something they simply enjoy.
“A vote of no confidence in us could potentially see Kidlington fold. The club was founded in 1837 and I am almost in disbelief that we have got to this position where we could be expelled.
“I am not convinced that this has been done in the best way possible. It could have been done in December and before now.
“I am no puppet. I just want this cricket club run in a proper way.
“I know you are voting on a mandate and I don’t expect you to change.
“But we at least deserve 12 months to prove it and ask you to consider the implications on the people in our club when you place your vote.” But a stunned Woolerton’s plea proved in vain, and after the meeting he declined to comment. With the possibility of legal action, Phillips said: “I don’t suppose it is all over. I would like to think it is all over, and that it is out the way and we could get on.
“I am sure Kidlington don’t feel so. I am sorry it has come to this. At the end of the day they have got to work within the rules.”
And Tomlin added: “I am just quite glad this particular situation has been settled.”
OFFICERS ELECTED Chairman: M Phillips; secretary: P Tomlin; treasurer: J Lodge; fixture secretary: J Pearson; executive committee: M Boyden, D Brooks, Tariq Mehmood, C Ricks, G Stearn, K White.