Cirencester Cricket Club is one of the oldest in the country, formed officially in 1842 although records indicate cricket played at the Park prior to this date. Today’s young players are following in the footsteps of WG Grace who, along with his brothers, played several times at the Club’s ground - “The Park”. Since 2002 Membership has increased by over 50% with a huge investment in coaching the youth teams and facilities including a £40,000 ground extension and practice nets area, new sightscreens and covers. The Victorian Pavilion is in use almost daily throughout the season, with over 100 days of cricket planned in 2010.
The Club is preparing to take part in NatWest CricketForce on 26th, 27th and 28th March 2010, an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) initiative to rejuvenate the facilities and infrastructure of community cricket clubs and provide volunteers with an opportunity to get involved.
A highlight of the weekend will be during the morning of Saturday 27th when the Club will be hosting Giles Clarke, Chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). Mr Clarke is very keen to see at first hand the work being undertaken by clubs to develop their facilities and boost their profile in the community. As one of a handful of clubs selected to be visited by the ECB, Giles Clarke’s visit will further endorse the work carried out by the Cirencester club’s management and enable him to learn of the plans for the redevelopment of the historic Pavilion.
Cirencester CC has gained significant benefit from NatWest CricketForce each year since it was launched in 2005 and, for the fifth time, the exercise is being planned and organised by Nikki and Brian Woodcock. During the weekend, over 70 volunteers (players, parents and children aged from 7 to 70+) are expected to help with the continued enhancement of the ground and historic pavilion. The key tasks are repairing the access road, refitting the covers, erecting the sightscreens and nets, refurbishing the toilets, a thorough redecoration of the interior and painting of the best part of a mile of railings!!! Over the six years that Cirencester has been involved with Cricket Force, it has benefited from voluntary work that would have cost tens of thousands of pounds to complete.
Nat West Cricket Force is the biggest annual volunteering event in sport and, across the country, is set to attract enough volunteers to fill Lord’s Cricket Ground three times over (85,000).
Club Chairman Peter Gilchriest said: “NatWest CricketForce will enable much needed work to ensure that the 2010 season gets off to the best possible start.
"All players start their cricket careers at local clubs and it is crucial that we support the game’s development at grass roots level. Good facilities and a fun environment can be the difference between youngsters developing their full potential and Nat West CricketForce helps make clubs a real focus for community sports activities and volunteering opportunities."
A number of local organisations have signed up to support the project including Travis Perkins, Cirencester Town Council, Bibury Landscapes, Virtus Construction and Ermin Plant Hire. The Club is also being helped by a number of individual donors.
Dave Leighton, ECB Club Programmes Manager, said: “We saw clubs do more for themselves in two days last year than they had for years before. It made a real difference to clubs including increased revenue, improved facilities, increased participation and a great sense of community spirit."