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Clubs get help from Pears players

Worcestershire's entire squad turned out in force on Saturday to help local cricket clubs with their renovations and refurbishments for NatWest CricketForce 2005.

While Worcestershire captain Vikram Solanki was flying round the country in a helicopter, David Leatherdale and Daryl Mitchell headed over to 98-year-old family-orientated Ashton-under-Hill CC from the Cotswold Hills League.

They set themselves a major project for the weekend and joined ranks with plenty of local businesses.

Graham Williams, a local ground worker, gave his time for the whole day free of charge to lay out paving for the artificial nets. Two current players and one ex-player sorted out the jigsaw puzzle that is the netting for the permanent nets to make sure they were up and running ready for pre-season training. This included plenty of repair jobs for the holes that have appeared over the winter months.

NatWest CricketForce 2005 logo high res

WW and MW carpentry also gave their time free of charge to help create some extra storage space under the seats in the dressing room. Brothers Bill and Martin Wilson heard about the event and wanted to help, explaining: "We got told about NatWest CricketForce weekend and we really wanted to do something to help.

“So we committed our time and materials and hope to do something to help improve Ashton-under-Hill CC and to give them somewhere to store all their equipment."

The main plans for the weekend were to improve the net area and practice wicket; paint the club to improve the overall appearance and create some much-needed extra storage for all the equipment.

The renovations were not all solely cricket based. In the kitchen the ladies had a massive clear out throwing away chipped crockery and some unidentifiable objects!

Lynsey Barnett helped to point the slabs around the back of the pavilion, a necessary task and great for him as he helped to build the pavilion in Easter 1989.

Vikram Solanki NatWest CricketForce

Worcestershire captain Vikram Solanki took to the skies

Dominic Capaldi, the driving force behind the weekend at Ashton-under-Hill, believes NatWest CricketForce is a great initiative and said: "I think it's a great idea to get the players and everybody involved right from the start of the season.

“It gives them a good idea as to what goes on in the club to keep it running on a day-to-day basis and as they are involved initially it might make them a bit more forthcoming in helping in the future. I think it makes them appreciate the running and maintenance of a cricket club much more."

Meanwhile down the M5 in Bromsgrove, Stephen Peters and Graeme Hick spent two hours helping volunteers do renovation work that would have cost an estimated £35,000 for the Birmingham and District Premier Division One club.

With help from national companies Focus DIY, Jewsons, Travis Perkins (West Brom), Hanover International Hotels and Asda, plus many more local companies, Bromsgrove managed to start their refurbishment project.

Their main aims from the weekend were to lay 250 squared metres of slabbing for a new patio and players’ seating and 50 squared metres of Cotswold paving for the Third Team pavilion.

They made extensions to the children's play area, fitting three swings, a slide and a climbing frame, and also overhauled both dressing rooms.

The principle focus for Bromsgrove was the children and to bridge the gap between the Junior Boars and the Under 13 team. They have therefore started a Boars Academy which is for 10-13-year-olds to keep them interested in cricket and help them make the transition from playing with a soft ball to a hard ball.

The renovation work at Bromsgrove is expected to continue over the next few weeks despite all the extra help with labouring on the day.

Paul Husbands oversaw the work and said: “We had an enormous response from so many people for this project and we took full advantage of that. It's a great initiative for any club and we'd just like to thank everybody involved for helping us."