MCC YC's pitch in to help Radlett
When Marylebone Cricket Club's Young Cricketers arrive at Radlett cricket ground every year, they usually come armed with a cricket bat or ball - but on April 11-12 they picked up rollers and paintbrushes instead.
The dozen players participating in NatWest CricketForce 2007, the largest volunteering event in sport in England and Wales. 80,000 volunteers from all over the country have so far helped some of the 1,150 affiliated cricket clubs get ready for the new season by donating cash and 'in kind' contributions.
Every year, MCC recruits up to 20 talented youngsters between the ages of 17 to 22. They spend a season based at Lord's, the 'home of cricket', benefiting from expert coaching, intensive playing programmes and world-class facilities.
The Young Cricketers visit Radlett several times a year when competing against universities and in the Second XI Championship and Trophy. Many MCC Young Cricketers proceed to enjoy successful careers in county or even international cricket.
Radlett CC's Chairman, Tony Johnson, came up with a list of tasks for the Young Cricketers and said: "We are delighted that MCC’s Young Cricketers offered to visit us as part of the NatWest CricketForce scheme. They assisted us by painting sightscreens and fences, setting out the benches for our spectators, constructing the nets, jet-washing the pavilion.
“Then they generally tidied up the ground so it looked its best for when the players return on Friday April 13 for their first match, a friendly against Leeds/Bradford MCC University."
MCC assisted the NatWest CricketForce scheme in other ways. The Club's Estates Department donated 40 litres of paint, rollers and brushes for repainting works. In addition, MCC's resident electrician, Jason Dell, helped for a day.
Jason said: "Radlett is my local ground so I was very happy to visit the ground and safety-test all the electrics and appliances to ensure everything was safe and in full working order."
MCC's heating and plumbing contractors, PR Hemingway, provided the services of one of their engineers free of charge for a day. Paul Hemingway made his priority fitting a new thermostat in the home dressing room showers.
He said: "After all the hard work the Young Cricketers put in, it seemed only fair that they could have a warm shower after their first match. Many small clubs struggle to pay for the services of professionals, such as plumbers and electricians, but as a family company, PR Hemingway were keen to get involved and give some 'in kind' support."
Tony Johnson continued: "Here at Radlett, we are providing cricket for an ever-growing number of players, aged between six and 65. We run five senior men's sides on Saturdays, with the 1st XI playing at the highest level in recreational cricket in the south east; and on Sundays, three men's teams and a women's team.
“Thanks to a dedicated team of managers and coaches, we run 11 junior teams competing in leagues every weekday evening and on Sundays for around 230 boys and girls, as well as junior coaching sessions on three evenings each week during the season.
“As important to us is our involvement in partnerships with three senior schools and 15 junior schools in the local community, for whom we are providing coaching services both at the schools and at the club. Add to this the 20 days of quality mid-week cricket for the Young Cricketers and Middlesex Second XI, and we have an exciting year ahead."
Now Radlett are hoping that the local community can continue the good work started by the Young Cricketers when they begin fund-raising for a new storage facility for the mowers, tractor, and other ground maintenance items, plus junior coaching equipment.
Tony elaborated: "We have provisional planning permission to construct the storage building, but are struggling to raise the £25,000 required for building and materials.
“We welcome assistance from local companies and individuals, with either materials or skilled labour. The club is at the hub of our local community and we hope that some of our Hertfordshire neighbours can help.”