Sidbury cricketers preparing for life in the Tolchards Devon Cricket League

The Sidbury CC side before their last weekend's meeting with Newton Poppleford.

The Sidbury CC side before their last weekend's meeting with Newton Poppleford. - Credit: Archant

Sidbury Cricket Club are gearing up for a major change this year as they prepare to return to league cricket with their opening game in the Tolchards Devon League H Division East, set for Saturday, May 4, when they will be at home to Woodbury and Newton St Cyres 2nd XI.

Cricket has been played in Sidbury for over 40 years, the club having been founded in the early 1970s.

The club’s home ground is known as ‘The Millfield’, a picturesque ground in the heart of the village and just off the Millennium Green.

Throughout its history, Sidbury CC played some league cricket, but the club’s main focus, particularly in recent years, has mainly focused on playing other local village sides and touring teams.

Over the last few years, the club has developed a hugely successful junior section, for boys and girls, and has increased the membership of its senior team and number of fixtures.

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At the end of the 2018 season the players and committee felt it was the right time to continue with the development of the club – hence what was ultimately a successful application to join the Devon League.

On-going projects include maintenance of mowers and rollers, repair and refurbishment of boundary fencing and hedges, and improvements to pavilion and changing facilities.

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The club’s Simon Rowe says: “In the last five to six years we have cobbled together a growing mix of players, ranging from cricket-loving parents, who have not played much since school, to some younger players previously at other local league-playing cricket clubs.”

He continued: “As they have started to get more game time, they have enjoyed their cricket and have been looking to take it (a little bit) more seriously. The feeling is the club still wants to encourage participation and maintain the village cricket atmosphere, but provide opportunities for some more competitive cricket also.”

With regard to the club continuing to play regular Sunday cricket on top of their new league commitments, Rowe says: “Of course, the club doesn’t want to overstretch itself in the first year back in the leagues, but is still keen to provide some fixtures for players not wanting league cricket, plus it has a long-standing history with many touring sides and where possible wants to maintain the links with these clubs, so if fixtures can be fulfilled they will be.”

There is one area of the club’s being that they are very keen to develop, and that is in the world of sponsorship.

Rowe says: “We are on the lookout for more sponsors and we are running a couple of schemes. The first is one where £150 gets a company a sponsorship board on display at the ground throughout the season. Another is through match day sponsorship – hopefully we will be able to get each of our home games sponsored. There’s also what we believe to be something fairly unique in terms of fundraising, which we are running at the local pub – The Red Lion.

“One of the players has blown up a giant picture of the ground and divided the outfield into squares; the squares are being sold for £1 each – tickets can be purchased from the bar in the pub. Prior to the season starting, a couple of local alpacas will be dropped off at the ground and where first alpaca decides to do his business will be linked to the appropriate square for someone to win!”

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