Spick and span at Fort field

ANOTHER successful NatWest Cricket Force day was held at Sidmouth Cricket Club in advance of the new season, writes John Goodwin.

A major project, creation of new changing facilities for visiting teams in a former roof void, was completed ahead of the big day with John Palmer masterminding the scheme and fitting out the room.

The Keith Owen Fund, administered by the Sid Vale Association to assist community benefit projects, contributed �7,000 to the project.

With that completed, the members who turned up devoted their time to renovating the sightscreens, preparing the practice nets and carrying out a number of internal and external painting tasks.

Many of the materials used were purchased through a NatWest Cricket Force incentive scheme run by Build Center which allows the club to obtain goods to the value of �500 for �100.

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Among the helpers was Sean Priestley who has been the conduit to enable the club obtain new sponsorship by his employer, financial company Brewin Dolphin. As well as wielding a paintbrush he presented cricket club chairman Mike Dibble with the sponsorship cheque.

Two teams consisting of Charlie Miles, Sean Priestley and children, Saj Patidar, Andy Green, Fionn Wardrop and daughter Tilly, Henry Gater, Charlie and Anthony Dibble set about the sightscreen work.

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Graham Bess used his fishing knowledge to repair holes in the practice nets while Will Gater secured all the fixings.

John Palmer varnished the pavilion frontage seating while above him Mike Dibble, Luke and Zach Bess cleaned and painted the balcony railings.

With the introduction of field placing regulations to go with the new win or lose rules that apply in the Devon Premier League, groundsman Colin Whitehall was fully occupied painting colour coded markers which will denote the inner fielding circle.

All is set now for the opening game at the Fort Field on Sunday, April 8, when Devon take on Somerset II.

It was in the Fort Field pavilion, in 1875, that the first moves were made to create Somerset County Cricket Club after a match between the Gentlemen of Devon and the Gentlemen of Somerset.

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