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Men of Kent brave blizzards for NWCF

Clubs throughout Kent prepared for their upcoming seasons last weekend by ripping out floors, yanking up cables and knocking down chimneys even though NatWest CricketForce in their county was blighted by blizzards.

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Macknade CC in the snow

Having spent weeks drawing up the plans for plundering pavilions and pillaging sheds, the work of rebuilding and beautifying started in earnest leaving scores of clubs pristine and prepared, despite the ravages of the weather.

At Margate CC, where the work was undertaken with the help of grant from Local Children’s Network Fund, the worklist included a new kitchen, new ‘Home and Away’ changing rooms, a new disability entrance to the club house via a decking area stretching from the side to the front of the building, new toilets and new showers to replace old suites that were ripped out along with some rotten floorboards. The bar area was completely revamped.

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Ian Dovey of Margate CC receives a cheque from NatWest’s Neil Canham

Much of the work was done by a handful of key player volunteers, who gave their time and in some cases, a substantial donation to add to the materials and services that were secured for free from club members. A Graffitti Buster’ machine was also brought in to remove the defacing on the main clubhouse wall.

At Macknade CC, which was showcase club in 2007, work to make further improvements continued despite some unseasonally heavy snow blizzards. The chimney was knocked down and the undergrowth beyond the boundary chopped back by a snow patrol who refused to be deterred by the inclement conditions.

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Macknade Men brave blizzards

Having been quoted up to £35,000 to renovate the square, Macknade members decided to tackle it themselves, doing all the preparatory work then having it professionally planed before top soiling and seeding. Around £32,000 was saved. Members also tackled electricity supply in the scoreboard and water supply in the showers.

Treasurer Darryl Cook said “We are revisiting all those jobs that we have carried out during the last four NatWest CricketForce Events and maintaining them to the high standard we want for our club. Each year we say next year there will be less to do, but every year we find another major project to undertake!”

Over at Whitstable CC, a Focus and Clubmark Club, the entire set of teams from the mens, ladies and colts sections, turned out to help with the pre-season preparations which were dominated by the need to power up the scoreboard. In 2007, the scoreboard ran off a car battery which was not entirely satisfactory.

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Margate Colts enjoying NWCF

Volunteers dug a trench, about half a metre deep and some 70 metres long, around the boundary and laid some cabling before filling it in and reseeding the grass. And then they switched it on...and cheered, celebrating with bacon rolls and a mug of tea.

Throughout the winter, volunteers have regularly turned up at the Club to make the required changes so disability toilets and disability access to the ground have been installed which has given rise to an indoor ‘Table Top Cricket Club’ which in turn has created links with pupils from schools in the local area, with learning disabilities.

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Margate Colts pose for the media