Sidmouth CC all set for another NatWest CricketForce weekend

PUBLISHED: 08:08 20 March 2015

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Sidmouth Cricket Club’s John Goodwin is urging the local community to come down and help them get ready for the new season at The Fortfield.

The 14th annual NatWest CricketForce is promising to be another blockbuster event with more than 2,000 clubs registered to take part over the last weekend in March.

Tens of thousands of club members and volunteers will come together to clean, tidy, repair and revitalise clubhouses and cricket grounds across the country ahead of the new season.

And as house and ground chairman Goodwin was eager to book Saturday March 28 in the diary as a day completely devoted to ensuring the place is spick and span ahead of Sidmouth’s opening match of the new campaign.

“It’s important to provide a focus because if there is no single day allocated to doing all the work it can get put back and forgotten about,” said Goodwin, who has been with the club for over 30 years.

“Our day will be taken up with some routine tasks that are required annually due to our location right on the coast.

“These include putting protective stain on the wooden pavilion and repainting the sightscreens.

“Our main focus will be refurbishing the scorebox, which bears the brunt of the seaside weather being some 30 yards from the high tide line.”

The scheme is supported by former England captain and current ECB Managing Director of Cricket Partnerships Mike Gatting.

And Gatting, who played 79 Tests and 92 ODIs for England, is adamant this year’s Natwest CricketForce will benefit more than just the clubs themselves.

“I hope we’re helping the communities as well as the clubs,” he said. “Kids want to go to clubs, and have fun with their mates in a safe area.

“It’s all about the community for cricket clubs, and in some places the clubs can stop kids from being out on the street and doing drugs, in gangs, and other terrible things.

“So these kind of schemes make a difference from that respect too, and it’s nice to think we can help kids move down a different path to all that.

“Cricket is one of those games where you make friends for life, build bridges, and learn a lot of life skills as well. That’s really important so local councils and communities acknowledging that it does make a difference and getting involved themselves is what it’s all about.”

NatWest CricketForce is an ECB project helping cricket clubs renovate and improve their facilities before each season with the help of members and their wider communities. Find out when your local club event is and lend a hand at ecb.co.uk/nwcf


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