CRICKET: Young and old join forces at Willoughby for Cricketforce

Young and old join forces at Willoughby on Saturday    PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER
Young and old join forces at Willoughby on Saturday PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER

Annual spring clean ready for new season, which starts in a fortnight

Paint brushes, polish, dusters, shovels and wheelbarrows were the order of the day at Willoughby Cricket Club on Saturday as club players and members young and old got involved at their annual ECB Natwest Cricketforce event.

With the new cricket season only a fortnight away, players, members and officials spanning an age range of 8 to 81 participated as the club once again undertook a major spring clean of the Pavilion and changing rooms as well as a variety of maintenance and outdoor works in and around the ground.

Natwest Cricketforce is an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) 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.

This year marked the 15th year Willoughby Cricket Club have been involved in Natwest Cricketforce, and having participated annually since the initiative first started, they joined over 2,000 other clubs from around the country who also took part during the course of the weekend.

Whilst the club’s adult members could be seen clearing ditches, erecting sightscreens, pressure-washing and painting fences, tidying 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 Chairman Brian Hall, said: “Our Cricketforce ‘clean up morning’ at Willoughby has been a great success once again.

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

“It shows what a great club spirit we have here, especially when everyone pitches in and contributes.”

The club were once again supported in their efforts with donations from Wilkinsons Stores, who provided a gift card for the purchase of cleaning materials, and Tesco Daventry, who also donated a gift card which went towards the purchase of catering for the event.

As well as free ECB Natwest Cricketforce T-shirts, a barbecue breakfast was provided for everyone, with plenty of tea 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.

WCC’s Press Officer, Karl Quinney added: “We have seen in all the previous years we have been involved in Cricketforce that events like this are just another great way to bring all our players and members together.

“It’s get togethers like these which show it is not just about what happens on the field that matters. So a huge thank you to everyone who came along and did their bit.”

In addition to thanking all those that got involved with the event, Willoughby Cricket Club would like to extend their thanks to Kirsty, Vicky 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.

The new cricket season gets underway at Willoughby CC over the weekend April 22-23, with senior XI friendlies against Oakfield CC and Bourton & Frankton CC.

Outdoor training sessions for both the club’s senior/adult players and junior teams are planned at the club in the lead-up to those games. For further details about these and joining Willoughby CC for the coming season, contact Karl Quinney on 07775 883102 or email at karl@karlquinney.co.uk. Alternatively head to Willoughby CC’s website at www.willoughbycc.org.uk, find them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter (@willoughbycc)