Essex players and staff join in CricketForce day
MARSHALL Hatchick Two Counties Championship side Witham played host to special guests and over 360 volunteers as the club took part in this year’s NatWest CricketForce.
Swapping bats and balls for paintbrushes and spades, members of the club were joined by Essex Cricket staff, and Essex players Michael Comber and Max Osborne, the ECB, volunteers from local businesses, members of the local community, members of staff from NatWest, local MP Priti Patel, and 180 local school children of all ages.
A huge amount of work had to be completed over the weekend, which included shingling the drive and car parks, painting both pavilions inside and out, building the scorebox, painting fences, building a barbecue, clearing and de-littering hedges – and spreading top soil from ‘the’ mound.
John Chick, the club chairman, stressed just how important an event for the club this was.
He said: “Looking forward to the start of the cricket season, it was great to see so many people turning out to get the club and playing facilities in order. Without the help of NatWest CricketForce and the ECB, clubs like ours would not be able to keep the facilities up to scratch. I would like to thank all our volunteers and supporting businesses for their amazing efforts.”
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NatWest were also happy to roll up their sleeves with over 15 members from the Witham branch helping out over the weekend.
Greg Heaton, from NatWest, said: “A vast number of cricket clubs across the country survive only on small funds and NatWest CricketForce is all about getting volunteers to come together as a community and help sustain their club. NatWest is committed to supporting the sport at all levels, so when it comes to getting our hands dirty, our staff are more than willing to get involved.”
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Witham were joined on the day by approximately 180 school children who enjoyed helping with the various projects as well as enjoying the ECB Cricket factory and the ECB pro bowl.
ECB Managing Director of Cricket Partnerships, Mike Gatting, said: “I have seen fantastic things achieved by clubs through NatWest CricketForce over the years. It still amazes me the projects that can be completed when the community gets behind their local club.
“Over the last ten years we have seen new pavilions built, pitches laid, nets and sight screens repaired and many litres of paint put to good use, long may it continue.”
This year’s NatWest CricketForce proved to be a record-breaking year with 1,914 clubs taking part plus an estimated 85,000 volunteers getting involved over the weekend of April 8-10.
Over the weekend England men’s players Steve Finn, Chris Tremlet, Ajmal Shadzad and women’s internationals players Katherine Brunt, Holly Colvin, Jenny Gunn and former England captains Mike Gatting and Michael Vaughan all played their part in supporting NatWest CricketForce.
For further information about NatWest CricketForce visit www.NatWest.com/cricket