Durham stars boost Tynemouth event
Tynemouth CC are expecting more than a hundred volunteers and a healthy turnout of cricket stars for their NatWest CricketForce 2006 event on Saturday.
The Tyne and Wear club are in the midst of a refurbishment project which has totaled well in excess of £100,000 and included putting a new roof on a 109-year-old pavilion and gutting nearly ever room.
Tynemouth are expecting a huge volunteer turnout on the day to support the event and Durham players Gordon Muchall, who played at the club as a junior, and Ben Harmison will be making an appearance, to lend a hand to the renovations.
Another Durham player, Gary Pratt, who ran out Ricky Ponting at Trent Bridge while fielding as 12th-man for England against Australia last year, will also be on hand.
There may even be a surprise visit from England pace bowler Steve Harmison if he has a free space in his diary - the same applies to Newcastle United full-back Peter Ramage, who played junior cricket at the club.
"Preparations have been manic," said Russell Perry, Tynemouth’s chairman and event coordinator. "We have replaced floorboards, put in a new heating system, installed double glazing, amongst other things and on Saturday we hope to finish things off.
"We are trying to co-ordinate it so that this weekend we get as much done as possible, especially things like painting - of which there is a lot.”
The club have been extremely active in raising money and have been very imaginative in the way the have gone about generating funds.
Perry explained to ecb.co.uk: "We have raised over £70,000 from things like a Land's End to John O'Groats bike ride and we have done other things like bag packs and raffles - you name it we have done it.
"We have had a team working throughout the winter and it has been a bit like a reality TV programme: 'You have two weeks left to build a clubhouse and the clock is ticking'."
Tynemouth play in the North East Premier League and have a firm youth policy with four players having coming through the ranks to play professionally in the last five years.
One of the four is new Glamorgan signing Nicky Peng, having moved from Durham during the summer.
All the big-name players that attend on Saturday will be put to good use painting, but not before they have taken coaching sessions with youngsters and passed on their knowledge!
Perry concluded: "The weather forecast is good for Saturday and the place is buzzing with excitement."