John Birch’s fate in court could hold key to Hucknall cricket club’s survival

IN COURT NEXT WEEK  --   John Birch, who faces two charges connected to the production of cannabis, is scheduled to appear in court next Friday.
IN COURT NEXT WEEK -- John Birch, who faces two charges connected to the production of cannabis, is scheduled to appear in court next Friday.
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The outcome of guru John Birch’s court case next week could hold the key to the future of Hucknall’s highest-ranked cricket club.

ROLLS-ROYCE LEISURE’S survival is hanging by a thread after they were expelled from the Notts Premier League (NPL) for failing to secure a ground within the county’s boundaries.

Rolls played their home games last season at Rolls’s base in Derby after switching from the Watnall Road site in Hucknall, which is being turned into a centre concentrating primarily on football.

It is understood they are hoping to be allocated a slot in the Gunn And Moore South Notts League if they can find a ground to play on.

However, the club might not continue at all if Birch, who has played such a big part in their transformation in recent years, is not at the helm.

The 59-year-old, a former manager of Notts CCC in the late 1980s and early 1990s, is set to appear at Nottingham Crown Court next Friday (3rd October).

He is to be sentenced on charges of producing 36 plants of cannabis at a site in Eastwoodand of dishonestly causing to be wasted or diverting a quantity of electricity to the vale of £703, also at Eastwood.

Birch has temporarily stood down as Rolls chairman until the case has been completed.

Meanwhile the NPL has issued this official statement, confirming Rolls’s expulsion:

“Rolls were allowed to play their 2014 fixtures in Derby after advising that their Watnall Road facility would not be available, contrary to assurances provided to the league by the club in Septe mber 2013.

“This decision was made reluctantly to prevent disruption to the fixture programme. However, it was on the strict understanding that they confirmed to us which one of the three following options they would choose for 2015 and beyond:

“1. Return to Watnall Road, 2. Find a suitable alternative home within Nottinghamshire, 3. Leave the league.

“Despite an extension to the deadline and substantial offers of support in finding an alternative location, the club did not choose any of the three options. Therefore, reluctantly, we will not be inviting them to ake part in the NPL in 2015.

“This decision has been endorsed by both the Nottinghamshire Cricket Board and by Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club.”