The power struggle over Rotherham’s Clifton Lane takes a fresh turn today with the ground’s two tenants, Rotherham Town CC and Rotherham Titans rugby club, locked in a bitter dispute over who will play on it this afternoon.
The disagreement, the latest in a series between the two clubs, saw both sides lay claim to the ground this weekend, with Town set to host relegation rivals Rockingham Colliery in a crunch battle to avoid the drop from the South Yorkshire League Championship and Titans slated to welcome Old Elthamians to Clifton Lane.
Town’s tenure of the ground, owned by Rotherham Athletic Club, runs until September 9 but Titans say they are relying on a written agreement reportedly agreed in 2015 which states that Town must “accommodate” them if they need the ground for early or late season games.
Town’s game has been switched to Rockingham’s ground, and in a strongly-worded statement they accused Titans of “bullying tactics” and criticised the South Yorkshire League for what they describe as a “lack of support”.
“We have worked hard to accommodate [Titans] during our tenure of the ground,” Town’s statement read.
“Sadly the Titans management have had no intention of working with us for some time as can be seen from their bullying tactics at the start of our season when they refused to remove their advertising hoardings, which led to the first game of our season being cancelled.
“What is more remarkable is the lack of support we have received from the Nicholas Associates South Yorkshire Senior Cricket League during recent seasons.”
Titans say they “have made all efforts” to rearrange the game “including reversing the fixture to the home ground of our opponents and also seeking other alternative suitable other venues [but] regretfully this has not been possible and we are left with no alternative but to rely upon the agreement made with the Rotherham Town Cricket Club on the 2nd December 2015.
“We therefore confirm that our Fixture against Old Elthamians will be hosted on Clifton Lane with a kick off time of 2pm,” their statement concluded.
The South Yorkshire League's CEO David Ward told The Star: “We are supportive of our member club and have facilitated alternative solutions, to ensure that this vital match is played and not decided in the committee room.
“We are not party to the agreements and discussions between the landlords, the cricket club and the rugby club and as such are not in a position to make further comment, save to say we support the continuation of cricket at Clifton Lane.”