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Whitstable Cricket Club to pay for damage after passing car hit by cricket ball

ByLydia Chantler-Hicks

A woman says she is lucky not to have been killed by a cricket ball that dented her car.

Sue Montgomerie was driving along Belmont Road in Whitstable when she heard an "almighty bang".

Startled, she pulled over and saw the ball rolling away from her car - before a player ran out of the Whitstable Cricket Club ground to retrieve it.

A cricket ball dented Sue Montgomery's Ford Mondeo
A cricket ball dented Sue Montgomery's Ford Mondeo

“If it had smacked someone walking by on the head it could have killed them,” said the Church Street resident.

“Or if it had hit someone in the face they could have lost an eye. What if it had hit a child?

“It’s left a massive dent. I don’t know what it’s going to cost, but I imagine it will be quite a bit.”

The 55-year-old says she was going to pick up her disabled partner from Tesco when the ball smacked into her car at about 6.15pm on Saturday, May 25.

Whitstable 1st XI were taking on Sidcup 1st XI at the Belmont that afternoon.

The away side notched 401 runs, with the home team all out for 215 - hitting five sixes.

The dent in Sue Montgomery's car caused by a stray cricket ball
The dent in Sue Montgomery's car caused by a stray cricket ball

Ms Montgomerie said: “I’ve lived here since 1972 so I’ve known the cricket ground there since I was a child. I must have driven past thousands of times.

“I heard a bang and first thought was my windscreen had gone - I didn’t know if something had hit me so I pulled up on the corner.

"It was only the next day we saw the dent - you could actually fit a cricket ball in the hole, and the paint has come off.

“I wanted to cry - I was absolutely gutted.”

Sue purchased her four-year-old Ford Mondeo less than two months ago, on finance.

“It’s not brand new, but it’s new to me. It’s the newest car I’ve had,” she said.

A warning on a fence at The Belmont ground in Whitstable
A warning on a fence at The Belmont ground in Whitstable

Sue was previously a full-time carer for partner Trevor, 57, who suffers from Parkinson’s - but she returned to work at EMS in Herne Bay after his disability payments were slashed.

“I needed a big enough car to get his wheelchair in,” she explained.

“If the car has to be repaired, how will he get around in the meantime?”

Ms Montgomerie was taken aback the ball evaded the fences along the ground’s perimeter, saying: “You don’t expect them to hit the ball that high and that far with that much force.

“It was right by the driver’s window. If it had been a bit lower, it could have hit me.

“The fence there is really high, but there’s a sign saying balls may come over.

The freak accident happened despite protective nets at the club ground
The freak accident happened despite protective nets at the club ground

“The fence isn’t in great condition - I’m not sure whether the ball came through it or over.

“Anyone could go down the route of saying 'should there be a ground in a residential area?' But I’ve not known there be a problem before.

“It’s amazing it hit me when I was moving. I don’t know who did it, but they must have been a very good cricketer. Maybe they should play for Kent.”

After Ms Montgomerie took to Facebook to ask for advice, others came forward with stories of people whose cars had been similarly damaged.

One commenter said: “Happened to my father years ago, like you driving past.”

Another said his father-in-law’s car window has previously been smashed by a stray ball.

Whitstable Cricket Club secretary Tom Robertson has confirmed the club will pay for the damage.

He said: “We have been in touch with the lady whose car was struck by a cricket ball to apologise and assure her that her vehicle will be repaired at our expense.

“Stray cricket balls have been a problem for clubs since the game began and our ground is heavily netted for protection with warning signs but nothing is ever 100% accident proof.

“Extreme caution should always be exercised in the vicinity of a game in play.”

Read more: All the latest news from Whitstable

Read more: All the latest news from Herne Bay

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