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Academy players support NatWest Cricket Force at Belper Meadows

AcademyBelperBy Oliver Perason (Mini Academy)

During every young man’s Easter holidays, his desire is to sleep till late and lounge around the house, but this was very different for members of the Derbyshire Academy and Mini Academy as on Friday 5th April they handed their support to local club Belper Meadows.

As part of their annual NatWest Cricket Force weekend, we helped the club get their clubhouse and playing facilities prepared for the new season.

We were split up and set our individual jobs by Belper’s Vice-Chairman, Phil Hudson.  Nathan, Callum and Brownie were directed in the direction of the large pile of wooden pallets behind the club house, taking the nails out of these pallets to de-construct them and then using them to hold together the new fence which was being put up and shaped by myself and Kabeer.

Rahib and Peaty were sent on their way in the direction of the fence to paint, where they were joined by Joe and BC-L. 

The rest of the lads were separated out between a variety of other jobs - making new steps for the pavilion, painting bits of wood for a different fence which was being dug out by Elliot Lawley, who was the only player to have attended both Cricket Force events supported by the Academy and Mini Academy, while Masso and Harry put the sight screens together.

It was good to see all of the lads getting stuck in and getting something out of it. After a good lunch of spaghetti bolognaise pasta and potatoes, we all got sharply back to work. Everyone got back to their jobs until 2.15pm when our jobs were all finished for the day and we were treated to another welcomed cup of tea.

Academy captain Ben Cotton said: ‘It was a great opportunity to show how much we care about the local clubs within the Derbyshire area.  We try to help and support these clubs who are all doing their utmost to develop young cricketers who could effectively become the next generation of players at all levels.”

All-in-all the day was very beneficial for all of us. It helped us bond together as a team and it was good to do something away from the competitive cricket environment. We thank Belper Meadows for welcoming us so well and supplying us with some meaningful jobs which had to be done.

Before the end of the day I caught up with Belper’s Chairman, Mark Slater, regarding what he thought about NatWest Cricket Force and how the day went. He said: “It was a very good idea, ideal way to improve the facilities the clubs has. It brings everyone from the club together. We are very thankful for the tremendous effort the Derbyshire lads put in and it wouldn’t be possible to get the ground done before the season if they hadn’t helped out today.”

At the end of the day, we all have to start somewhere…and the grass roots are where it all comes from - from the playground, to the County Ground.

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