A record-breaking 2,200 cricket clubs nationwide have registered for this weekend’s NatWest CricketForce event.
The three day event, which will see facilities rejuvenated and prepared across the country for the forthcoming cricket season, will see tens of thousands of club members and volunteers coming together to clean, tidy, repair and revitalise clubhouses and cricket grounds.
Derbyshire cricket clubs have really got behind the initiative with a staggering 90 clubs registered to take part.
It is anticipated that between two and three thousand volunteers will be involved at clubs over the weekend and the Derbyshire Cricket Board is providing some additional support by working with a small number of clubs to help them make the most of the event.
Wirksworth & Middleton Cricket Club has been selected as Derbyshire’s showcase club for 2014 as they continue to rebuild after their wooden pavilion at their Middleton ground completely destroyed by a fire last July.
The club has been working tirelessly since the fire to ensure that cricket could be played on the ground in 2014 thanks to support from club sponsor Tapton Estates, the generosity of a local farmer and a grant from the ECB.
Derbyshire Club Cricket Development Manager, Mick Glenn said: “It is fantastic that so many clubs value the initiative as a way to make sure they start the season on the front foot.
“NatWest CricketForce can make a real difference to clubs and acts as the perfect platform from which to start the summer.”
Sue Marshall, Chair of the Wirksworth & Middleton Cricket Club, said: “We are very grateful to everyone who has given us such great support.
“Middleton is used for our third and Sunday team matches, as well as many of the youth matches throughout the season.
“The ECB have been fantastic and have responded to our request for help very quickly, and Tapton Estates have supported us throughout now kindly offering to fund the electricity.
“We are absolutely delighted and very thankful for the support.
“Despite the setback, our Club is thriving and optimistic for the future. We are especially fortunate in having some promising girls and boys between the ages of ten and sixteen, and the continuation of cricket at Middleton will be very important to their development.”
Other clubs focused for support are Whittington Wanderers, Quarndon and Denby.
Whittington Wanderers Club Secretary, Richard Prestidge added: “CricketForce is great for clubs like ours in that it gives us the chance to have a bit of pre-season team bonding and a laugh while we're at it.
“It also allows us to spruce up our pavilion and take some pride in the simple small facilities we have compared to some. The grant offered by the ECB and Jewson’s is also very handy as it means we can buy the materials to repair the winter damage which we inevitably suffer. I would highly recommend CricketForce to any club.”
Quarndon have a busy weekend to look forward with a range of jobs in preparation for the season. While the long-term ambition is to have a new facility, they are aware of the importance of keeping the clubhouse in good repair.
Denby has benefitted from a Sport England Inspired Facilities Grant which has seen a new kitchen added and the clubhouse refurbished. As an interesting aside they have also linked up with ‘Million Trees Derbyshire’ and will be planting 150 trees as part of their project.
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