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Clubmark success for Lingfield

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Mark Ramprakash presents Ken Webster(Lingfield CC President) with the Clubmark award, joined by Neil Henderson, Ashley Netherclift from the club and some Lingfield U9 players

Less than two weeks after England won the Ashes at The Brit Oval, Lingfield Cricket Club were at the ground to celebrate yet another cricketing success – receiving the prestigious Clubmark award.

Lingfield were presented with their Clubmark award by Surrey’s Mark Ramprakash during the county’s final totesport league game of the season.

Lingfield are only the fourth club in the Surrey to receive this honour and were invited to The Brit Oval as the guests of Surrey Cricket to receive the award. Lingfield CC were out in force with 100 children and parents being there to celebrate their club’s success.

Lingfield’s road to success started in 2001 when the club hosted the first major CricketForce day. Over 100 volunteers from around the country descended on Lingfield for one day and gave the pavilion a makeover Carol Smilie would be proud of! The revamped pavilion was opened by Ramprakash, who also helped throughout the day. It was therefore very fitting that he presented the Clubmark award to Lingfield four years after CricketForce day.

Neil Henderson, one of the five ECB qualified coaches at the club, said: “CricketForce day provided the launch-pad for the club’s success, which has seen over the last four years the number of children playing cricket increase to over 120.

“There are now 10 age groups from under 9 to 18, all playing league cricket. Each group is run by a manager and regular coaching is provided by five ECB-qualified coaches throughout the year.”

In association with Surrey Cricket, Lingfield has developed codes of conduct, child protection policies and coaching plans. Session attendance has soared since the introduction of the new systems with word getting around Lingfield and the surrounding area about the positive vibe throughout the club.

The number of volunteers has also grown, with parents giving un-prompted offers of help in a number of different activities from coaching to running social events.

Henderson added: “We are delighted to have achieved this award and it is recognition for the years of hard work from club members, parents and children. The success of England’s Ashes-winning team has given cricket a big boost particularly at grassroots level.

“The Clubmark award recognises that we are able to provide a safe and well-equipped environment for children to enjoy the game. We are also a Focus Club for Surrey Cricket, which means we will be able to build on our success and develop links with local schools and community groups.

“We welcome girls as well as boys and have a long-term development plan which includes improving our existing facilities in partnership with Surrey Cricket and the local community.”

The club is currently in the process of securing funding for two new state-of-the-art cricket nets, which should be in place for the start of next season. They also hope that their new Clubmark status will attract funding from local sponsors.

“This is a major challenge with nearly £20,000 needed,” said Henderson. “But with our new Clubmark status and development plan we hope to attract the required funding and make Lingfield the best equipped club in the area.”

Henderson’s advice for clubs not yet in the process of attaining the Clubmark is: “Get on board as soon as possible and begin making a difference to the way your club is run. The Clubmark exercise acts as a huge catalyst for change and creates a good team spirit and goal for everyone to aspire to.

“The children benefit directly from better organised and safer sessions and improved facilities.”

This feeling is shared by Sharon Eyers, Cricket Development Manager at Surrey. She said: “The Clubmark is the most important target for all cricket clubs at the moment. Cricket will only continue to grow if the younger children are given the best training and support, and clubs that have shown their dedication to this by attaining the Clubmark will be first in the queue for the distribution of resources and funding.

“Lingfield is a well-run club and we are really proud of the work that they have put in and everything that has been achieved.”

Clubmark is the national club accreditation scheme from Sport England, which is awarded in conjunction with existing National Governing Body (NGB) schemes. Clubmark will ensure that clubs can continue to develop and offer children the best possible sporting opportunities, whilst allowing parents/carers to be confident that their children are attending a quality club.

The ECB have developed Sport England's Clubmark scheme specifically for cricket. It has been designed as a club development and accreditation scheme with a view to it being recognised by parents, local authorities and schools as a quality mark that cricket clubs can achieve. It indicates that a club provides a safe, effective and child-friendly environment.

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Lingfield CC representatives are pictured with Surrey CCC President Richard Stilgoe and Surrey CCC Chief Executive Paul Sheldon