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Ashtead primed for CricketForce

Mini Diggers, Ashtead CC

Ashtead CC's ground will hopefully be awash with volunteers come April 3's NatWest CricketForce day

Ashtead CC are gearing up for a huge weekend for their club when they become the eighth showcase club to launch NatWest CricketForce.

The Surrey club will host the ECB’s initiative on Friday April 3, where they will begin work on renovating their scorebox, building fences, moving their colt shed and painting benches at their Woodfield Lane ground.

Work will also continue on the club's new pavilion.

NatWest CricketForce is a grassroots initiative run by the ECB and sponsored by NatWest - the biggest annual volunteer programme undertaken in British sport.

Last year’s CricketForce attracted a record 1375 clubs (225 up on 2007), 85,000 volunteers (5,000 up on 2007) and an estimated £35-£40 million in cash (an increase of up to £5million on the previous year). With three weeks to go, a record 1,379 clubs are taking part this year.

Ashtead chairman Richard Laudy said: “We are a modern club, looking to the future. We need a facility which reflects our forward-looking approach and our diverse membership.

“We are very excited about the future and the opportunities our new facility will create for the club.”

Charlotte Edwards, preparing England women for Sunday’s World Cup final against New Zealand, said: "NatWest CricketForce is a fantastic initiative for cricket clubs across England and Wales.

Pavilion, Ashtead CC, March 14 2009

Ashtead's new pavilion as it stood on March 14

“It really brings clubs together at the start of the season and it's great to see so many players, officials and VIPs turn out to volunteer across the weekend.

“This is a massive year for cricket with the World Twenty20, the Ashes for both the men and women as well as all the domestic cricket that will be played and we can’t wait to roll our sleeves up for NatWest CricketForce.”

Edwards’ male counterpart Andrew Strauss said: “The England cricket team and I are backing NatWest Cricket Force. I have been pleased to be part of this event during the past eight years as so has the rest of the England team.

“It's a terrific concept and a great way for all the community to get behind their local cricket club and play a part in helping improve facilities.”

Ashtead will be presented with a £450 Bowdry water hog on April 3, to help with pitch preparation ahead of matches.