CricketForce works for Workington
Workington Cricket Club have completely embraced the NatWest CricketForce concept and hope to build even further on the success of the last two years.
The club has had to contend with the disappointment of failed National Lottery grants and CricketForce provided them with the template to help themselves.
They have brought in over £70,000 of equipment and labour over the last two years as their ambitions continue to grow and last weekend they were rewarded with a visit by helicopter from England players Matthew Hoggard and James Anderson.
The pair, who also visited Wirksworth and Saltaire, dropped in to help with the ground refurbishments as part of a busy weekend to celebrate the massive impact CricketForce has had on grass roots development.
Workington’s development officer, Malcolm J. Wood, was delighted with the visit and told ecb.co.uk: “We had a superb day on Sunday.
“The kids reacted in great fashion to both James Anderson and Matthew Hoggard and it was superb to see the players enjoy getting their hands dirty in such a worthwhile cause.
“Hoggard was very good with the children and he swapped tops with one of our younger members and I managed to get his tracksuit top!”
“The England players had a bit of fun in the nets and passed on some skills to the children, who had come to the ground.
“They enjoyed their Cumberland sausage and lots of kids from surrounding areas like Egremont and Cockermouth enjoyed the day, with local MP Tony Cunningham also saying a few words and mucking in with some of the jobs.“
Workington have benefited from major investment from local companies which include Steves paints, The Window Outlet, TP Broomby's, Handy Concrete, Marshalls, Tesco and Shepley Engineers.
Volunteers like decorator Raymond O'Neill, electrician Paul McGuirk - who rewired the pavilion and changing rooms - and Adrian Chisnall and Ken Kirkwood of Unblock Cumbria all made massive contributions.
Workington have a 10-year plan that involves staging a full Cumberland county fixture in the future and this season they are to employ an overseas professional for the first time in 15 years as development continues.
Last season the first team finished a very respectable fourth in the North Lancashire Premier Division and the second team also had success by gaining promotion.
The club have already begun to see the benefits of NatWest CricketForce and in 2004 turnover increased by 14%, with membership also rising by around 10%.
The success of the event has even led to calls from many members to add the saying ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’ to the club's badge!
Wood continued: “CricketForce has given us the initiative to go out and develop the facilities for ourselves after we narrowly missed out on financial help from the National Lottery.
“We think we have shown what we can do, so hopefully more investment will come after so much support and help from the surrounding community.”