VANDALS who damaged a cricket club’s new £1,000 net with a burning rugby tackle bag have been condemned as “mindless idiots”.
The mobile net, which is surrounded by steel fencing, is stored at the back of the pavilion at Pontardawe’s Recreation Ground.
Youths were seen on the pavilion roof on the evening of Tuesday, April 20, according to cricket club captain Mark Jones.
He said three rugby tackle bags from a nearby skip had been bundled on top the net the following morning, with other rubbish found nearby.
Mr Jones said he went to clear the tackle bags and found two holes in the net. One of the tackle bags, he said, had been set on fire.
He said the cricket club hadn’t used the net yet, and that it would cost £200 to replace the netting around the frame. The club will instead try a patch-up job.
Mr Jones said the club was starting training sessions for five to 11-year-olds next month, and that the response from the community to these sessions had been fantastic.
“Then you get these mindless idiots,” he said, referring to the vandals. “It’s not fair for the people in the community.”
He said the incident had been reported to Mid and West Wales Fire Service and was being reported to South Wales Police.
The Recreation Ground is owned by Swansea Council but run by Pontardawe Sports Association. The ground is home to the town’s rugby club as well as the cricket club – and Llandarcy Cricket Club also play matches there.
Mr Jones said the cricket score box was vandalised three times last year – the third time beyond repair.
He said the club set up a crowdfunding page, which paid for a new concrete score box, complete with a metal shutters and a security door. A local builder constructed it free of charge.
Like all sports clubs, Pontardawe CC has had to make do for a year without its normal revenue streams due to the Covid pandemic.
Mr Jones said the mobile net, which can be wheeled out onto the strip, had only been assembled three weeks ago.
“We haven’t used it yet,” he said.