It’s that time of year again where every club in the land is trying to get their ground ready for the new season, fighting off floods, frost, or in our case - an infestation of leather jackets.
Just to be clear, a reunion of the former hit-TV show Happy Days is not being filmed on our new ground; crane fly larvae have settled and are causing damage to our outfields.
So, whilst we treat the outfields (more on that next week), the timing for this year’s Natwest CricketFORCE has been ideal - to mobilise the local community to get our facilities ready for our debut season in Theo’s Ryman sponsored ECB Surrey Premiership.
As Adrian Gale, Valley End’s Facilities Manager mentions, "Over the years a number of projects have been concluded as a direct consequence of members working together for an intensive period."
Clubs like ours thrive on involvement from the wider community, not just the players and certainly not only the valiant efforts of our groundstaff.
This year has been no different, with the new ground being treated for those little Fonzies, the focus has shifted on getting the local Windlesham Park equipped to hold our pre-season friendlies.
I say friendlies; in truth they are true local derbies with an inevitable over-competitive grudge match of stumps or a boat race to finish.
A large number of current and former players, plus youth parents were mobilised by our ground staff, undertaking a variety of jobs from building new advertising hoardings to interior painting and decorating.
Running across the weekend, there were anywhere between 10 and 20 members on-site at any one time, although numbers did tend to peak whenever a new batch of bacon butties was delivered or a new barrel of beer was opened! This seemed to also attract attention of local passers-by, always helping them recognise the good work our club does within the community.
The positive impact on club spirit is noted by Gale.
"By bringing Club members together our ‘One Club, Your Club’ ethos helps to grow with all youths working alongside their parents as well as senior members from all teams, helping the relationships to grow across the club.
"However, the cricket hasn’t stopped, on the same day we had over 60 youths from U8-15s in their regular training sessions."
In the words of local County Councillor Mike Goodman - who helps oversee cricket operations and can also be spotted occasionally umpiring for the 2s.
"It is excellent to see such commitment from our members of both club and community in getting our playing facilities ready for what is a massive season for Valley End Cricket Club."