CRICKET: Willoughby does Cricketforce on 115th birthday

Willoughby's Cricketforce spring clean on Saturday
Willoughby's Cricketforce spring clean on Saturday

Young and old join forces for annual spring clean

Buckets, dusters, shovels and wheelbarrows were at the ready at Willoughby Cricket Club on Saturday as club players and members young and old got involved at their annual Natwest Cricketforce event.

With the new cricket season only a matter of weeks away, players, members and officials spanning an age range of 4 to 79 participated as the club once again undertook a spring clean of the Pavilion as well as a variety of smaller works and outdoor projects in and around the ground.

And it was another great turnout on what was officially Willoughby CC’s birthday, 115 years to the day when the club was first formulated in the village’s parish reading rooms on April 2, 1901.

Natwest Cricketforce is an England and Wales Cricket Board volunteering initiative aimed at rejuvenating the nation’s cricketing facilities. Cricket clubs encourage their members and the local community to get together to get their facilities ready for the season ahead and to give something back by volunteering to undertake major renovations to clubhouses and grounds. Willoughby Cricket Club was one of over 2100 clubs around the country who took part in the now-annual event, continuing its involvement since the initiative first started.

Whilst the club’s adult members could be seen clearing ditches, erecting sightscreens, painting fences, tidying the outdoor nets and preparing the pitch, the club’s junior cricketers patrolled the outfield collecting leaves and branches and filling barrows with soil. Inside the Pavilion, everything from windows, floors, changing rooms and the club’s social area were all dusted down, cleaned and polished.

Willoughby CC Press Officer Karl Quinney, said, “It is fair to say Natwest Cricketforce at Willoughby has once again been a great success.

“It has been great to see so many from within the club and also our local community come along, get involved and help us get ready for the new season.

“As we have seen in previous years, events like this are a great way to bring all our players and members together and it reflects what a great sense of club spirit exists here especially when everyone pitches in. So a huge thank you to everyone who came along and did their bit”.

As well as free Natwest Cricketforce t-shirts, a BBQ breakfast was provided for everyone and plenty of tea was flowing courtesy of another very sizeable kind donation from Yorkshire Tea.

The club also used the event as a Registration Morning for both adult and junior cricketers interested in playing at the club for the coming summer, which also proved very successful with several new members signing up.

In addition to the generous contributions of a consignment of tea from Yorkshire Tea, the club would like to extend their thanks to Stephen Dillon and the team at Tesco Daventry, and Jamie Bainbridge, Leanne and colleagues at Wilkinsons in the Clock Towers Shopping Centre in Rugby for their kind support and donations.

* Willoughby CC begin their season next weekend (Saturday, April 16) with the first of three friendlies. Braunston Paddox are the visitors to The Green for the now-traditional season opener, before Fillongley IIs make the trip over on Saturday, April 23, followed by Bourton & Frankton also visiting Pye Court for the club’s first Sunday encounter of the new season 24 hours later.

These fixtures are before the start of Willoughby’s two Saturday XI’s beginning their South Northants Cricket League campaigns on Saturday, April 30. Preview next week.

* With the ground and pavilion now all ready for the summer ahead, the final preparations for Willoughby Cricket Club’s 2016 season continue to take shape this weekend with an outdoor training afternoon on Saturday (April 9) for the club’s junior sections from 1pm to 3pm.

For more information on joining Willoughby CC for the 2016 season – at mens/senior level through to junior cricket covering under 15, 13, 12 and 11 age groups and Kwik Cricket, contact Karl on 07775 883102, email karl@karlquinney.co.uk or visit the club website at www.willoughbycc.org.uk