Campaign – savingcricket@jesmond

Late in 2003 came the shock news that cricket could end at the ground. Changes to the funding of cricket meant that the leaseholders were no longer able to cover the costs of the Jesmond Ground. They told the Trust which owns the ground that they were giving notice to hand back the lease.

A campaign group called savingcricket@jesmond was formed and a high profile public campaign was launched in March 2004.

Campaign banner at Durham CCC's Riverside ground

Campaign banner at Durham’s Riverside ground

Support came from all over the world. Dennis Lillee penned an eloquent essay about what makes the ground so unique. Sir Bobby Robson was Guest of Honour at a campaign dinner. You can see examples of the campaign newsletters here. The leader of the campaign was Charlie Stafford who with dozens of volunteers was unstinting in seeking ways to save the ground.

The solution was found in a new partnership. The Royal Grammar School took on the lease and moved their cricket matches to the ground. And they rented out the pitch and pavilion to the newly-formed Newcastle Cricket Club to ensure the community facilities continued. There has been considerable refurbishment over the last few years thanks to the new arrangements, to generous donations, to fundraising and to grant support.

Northumberland County Cricket Club, which had given up the lease, continues to use the pavilion as a base and plays several of its matches at the Jesmond Ground every season, continuing a link which goes back more than a century.