Lisvane aiming high
NatWest CricketForce 2008 represents the latest chapter in Lisvane Cricket Club’s remarkable journey from zero to hero in Welsh cricket.
In the 30 years since the idea for Lisvane CC was first mooted, over a few ales at the Griffin Inn in the northern Cardiff suburb, their ambitions have become grander and grander.
Before January this year, Lisvane did not even have a ground to call their own but after years of searching, a 25-year lease on the old YMCA sports ground at St Mellons was secured.
It had not been used for six years so the amount of work required to bring the square and playing field up to scratch, not to mention the clubhouse and changing rooms, was frightening.
Despite this, the original plans to spruce up and make do were all ditched in favour of a more ambitious plan to rebuild the changing rooms, install a new kitchen, refurbish the clubhouse and give the nets, pitch, hedging, fencing and patio a major makeover.
It has grown into such a big project, it now requires approval from the city planners in Cardiff and is estimated to cost around £50,000.
But as host club to 13 teams who have all been forced in recent years to trek across Wales to play their cricket, Lisvane CC will finally be able to provide a real home of cricket in 2008, with a full fixture list complete with potential sponsors and an additional training and coaching programme.
The growth of cricket in south Wales, especially among the junior boys and girls has been staggering over the past five years with the membership rising from 0 in 2002 to 150 in 2008 so the club is already on the look out for another ground in Lisvane that will assume pride of place as the main headquarters in years to come.
For the moment, the activity levels in the run up to NatWest CricketForce are frenzied, admits Ian Morgan who heads up the youth section of the club and is also a member of the 15-strong NatWest CricketForce organising committee at Lisvane.
“All we have at the moment is a rutted field and two horrible looking huts that would not look out of place in a prisoner of war camp so there is a lot of hard work to be done,” he said.
“Hopefully we will transform it but it I must admit it is a bit manic here. A few people are struggling to balance their NWCF commitments with their regular working lives but there is a lot of enthusiasm especially now that we have the architects’ drawings up on the wall so people can see how it will look.”
A whole raft of sponsors and supporters have already been signed up - L&H Soft Furnishings will provide curtains, The Community Times have agreed to promote the event, Fraser Lawson is providing a disco and Capitol Coated Steel will look after the roof cladding.
In addition to the work on the facilities, a wild garden will be created where, in the summer, visitors will be able to sit on upturned logs and watch the cricket surrounded by flowers and shrubs.
To achieve their objectives, the club, which has 250 members in total, is anticipating an army of up to 300 volunteers to help out over the NatWest CricketForce weekend of April 4-6. They will be fed and watered by an army of volunteer caterers working in marquees and gazebos preparing barbecue food supplied by a local supermarket.
Face painting and bouncy castles will also be provided so the younger children are kept entertained while their parents toil.
The club is hoping for a large representation of England and Glamorgan cricketers though they are fully aware that an important rugby fixture involving the Cardiff Blues and Cardiff City’s progress in the FA Cup could create clashes among diehard Welsh sport fanatics.