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Foxes force behind scheme

Leicestershire’s cricket stars will be playing a prominent role in the largest-ever volunteering event in British sport this weekend as NatWest CricketForce provides a further boost for the county game at club level.

The entire first team squad from Grace Road will be visiting designated clubs throughout Leicestershire in support of a national event which will see more than 70,000 volunteers involved in projects to upgrade club facilities.

NatWest CricketForce encourages players, supporters, friends and families to give something back to their local community cricket club by helping to undertake major renovations to improve clubhouses and grounds.

This initiative was successfully launched last year when 665 clubs took part in the scheme which resulted in an investment of £15 million in the game.

Now, a total of 1,032 clubs are registered for NatWest CricketForce across 39 counties including 25 that have so far signed up in Leicestershire.

From building disabled access ramps to renovating nets and painting pavilions, an army of cricket lovers big enough to fill the Millennium Stadium will ensure those clubs are well prepared for the new season ahead.

"NatWest CricketForce will enable much needed work to take place at clubs across the county ensuring the 2006 season gets off to the best possible start," commented Leicestershire captain Jeremy Snape.

"All players start their cricket careers at local clubs and it is crucial therefore that we support the game's development at this level.

"Good facilities and a fun environment can be the difference between youngsters staying with cricket or not, and NatWest CricketForce helps make clubs a focus for community sports activities and volunteering opportunities.”

Leicestershire's fully-committed support for NatWest CricketForce presents Senior Coach Tim Boon with an opportunity to demonstrate that working closely with the Leicestershire and Rutland Cricket Board and forging good links with the county's clubs is a key part of his strategy.

David Collier, Chief Executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board who previously held a similar post at Grace Road, said: "The response throughout England and Wales has been truly magnificent.

"We knew that NatWest CricketForce 2006 would be bigger and better than ever before and I am delighted that so many cricket clubs have taken the opportunity to unite their communities pre-season."

The Leicestershire squad will be visiting the following clubs:

Paul Nixon (Barrow Town), Claude Henderson (Billesdon), Tom New (Birstall Village), Hylton Ackerman (Broomleys), John Maunders (Countesthorpe), John Sadler (Dunton Bassett), David Masters (Earl Shilton), Stuart Broad (Egerton Park), Marc Rosenberg (Hinckley Amateur), Chris Liddle (Kibworth), Jeremy Snape (Langtons), Paul Harrison (Loughborough Carillon), Ryan Cummins (Loughborough Town), Darren Robinson (Market Harborough), Darren Maddy (Narborough and Littlethorpe), James Allenby (Queniborough) and Aftab Habib (Sileby)