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Strauss and Edwards lead by example

Take a guided tour of Harrow St Mary's Cricket Club

England captains Andrew Strauss and Charlotte Edwards threw their weight behind NatWest CricketForce when they kicked off the 2010 weekend at Harrow St Mary’s Cricket Club.

Strauss and Edwards were among an array of star names who helped spruce up the north-west London club yesterday, along with former England pair Mike Gatting and Angus Fraser.

More than 1,600 clubs are taking part in NatWest CricketForce this weekend, a record for the scheme that began in 2002.

“I think it’s been brilliant,” Strauss told ECBtv. “The atmosphere has been fantastic and it shows just how much people want to help out and help upgrade club facilities.

Andrew Strauss & Charlotte Edwards

Andrew Strauss and Charlotte Edwards got NatWest CricketForce under way at Harrow St Mary’s Cricket Club yesterday

“We’re here today but it’s taking place all over the country. It’s increasingly kind of the precursor to the start of the season, people coming together at their local club, having had a winter away from the game.

“And now it’s about getting the facilities in decent nick and then everyone can get outside and play cricket in the near future.

“The atmosphere's great. There have been real improvements made to the club made in a short space of time here. It’s an initiative I can’t recommend highly enough to be honest.”

Edwards, who has been involved in NatWest CricketForce for several years, highlighted the long-term benefits of making the best possible facilities available nationwide.

“It’s been fantastic. It always is,” she said. “It’s always a day to look forward to in the calendar, to come down to where we all started playing and to help out as much as you can with a paint brush and with a spade.

“It’s always really important we support these kind of events. The facilities are so important now to grass roots cricket and attracting new players.”