Charlton Kings Cricket Club face delay in battle with widow Jacki Mitchell to continue playing on Ryeworth Fields
Cricketers have been bowled a googly by a wealthy widow over a patch of land which they have used for more than a century.
The Greenway Lane ground in Charlton Kings, Cheltenham, has been used by generations of villagers to stage matches and train teams.
Charlton Kings Cricket Club, founded in 1885, claimed it had a 'gentleman's agreement' with the landowner to use a patch of his land as an outfield area, which makes up a fifth of the Ryeworth Fields pitch.
But following his death, widow Jacki Mitchell staked a legal claim to the land on the grounds that the club had no right of ownership.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
The board of Charlton Kings Cricket Club filed a counter-claim, stating that the land had been occupied and in use for the last century.
Both parties have been locked in an 18-month court battle over the land, which has already cost the club £80,000, and which it has warned could put it out of business if it loses.
The fight was due to end yesterday following a four-day trial at the High Court in Birmingham.
But Judge Mr Justice Morgan ruled that he could not reach a decision on the dispute after barristers highlighted a last-minute legal technicality.
He ordered that the trial be adjourned for two months to allow legal teams to investigate an apparent tenancy agreement between the board of trustees and the then-owner of the land, which was drawn up in 1947.
The judge granted both legal teams time to investigate the issues arising from the document, which was only uncovered this week.
He said: "I'm quite sure that if I take a decision today I'm going to produce a result that is not in accordance with the correct legal position. I think both of you are very vulnerable to the wrong answer emerging."
The judge added that he regretted the delay but had no choice but to put the case back.
Speaking after yesterday's hearing, cricket development officer Geoff White admitted that the delay was proving frustrating.
He added: "We will do everything we can to ensure that cricket continues to be played on the ground, which has hosted matches for over 100 years."
The case was adjourned and will be heard in London on a date yet to be fixed.