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 and Derbyshire’s club cricket development manager Mick Glenn is delighted with the response.
“It is fantastic that so many clubs value the initiative as a way to make sure they start the season on the front foot,” Glenn said. “NatWest CricketForce can make a real difference to clubs and acts as the perfect platform from which to start the summer.”
Derbyshire clubs have been rewarded for their commitment over the years. In 2005, James Anderson and Matthew Hoggard visited Wirksworth and in 2011 Sawley and Long Eaton Park took centre stage as a National Showcase club.
Belper Meadows were the beneficiaries of ECB support in 2013 with former England captain and Ashes winner Mike Gatting lending a hand.
This year, the ECB has provided the opportunity for clubs to access a micro-grant and this has been gratefully received in Derbyshire bringing some £25,000 of support into clubs.
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.
Central to this has been Derbyshire’s NatWest CricketForce Ambassador David Dooley. Dooley commented: “NatWest West CricketForce is a proven method of improving or maintaining your facilities, attracting volunteers from the local community, engaging with potential sponsors and contacting lapsed players and members.
“It can energise the club; build team spirit while everyone can enjoy an afternoon down at the club just as the season beckons. It should be remembered that NatWest CricketForce is appropriate for any cricket club regardless of size - big or small.”
Local clubs taking part in the initiative include Denby (see right), Alfreton, Ambergate, Butterley United, Codnor, Heanor Town, Marehay, Riddings, Shipley Hall and Stainsby Hall.