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Good turn out for day of demolition

Posted in NatWest CricketForce 2009

Volunteers are often hard to come by for any local club, especially for local cricket clubs when the ground needs to be ‘put to bed’ at the end of the season, or when the bar or the barbeque needs tending.

Here, Ashtead CC is no different.

That might be a bit harsh; Ashtead has a hardcore set of volunteers, always willing to lend a helping hand – the massive colts section just wouldn’t function if not for the willing help of unpaid parents.

But it is not these people that need to be mobilised when action is required – it’s new volunteers that are always hard to find.

However, if demolition is the order of the day, as it was on November 22, it is a great deal easier to get members down to the club on a chilly off-season Saturday.

The fact that the day was linked to the NatWest CricketForce project also helped with recruitment. The ECB’s NatWest CricketForce initiative encourages cricket supporters, their friends and families to give something back to their local community cricket club by volunteering to undertake major renovations to clubhouses and grounds. It is a fantastic programme.

The destruction of the tea hut marked the start of the labour required to transform Woodfield Lane – Ashtead’s home for as long as anyone, even President Chris Weller, can remember – into a modern cricket ground at the heart of the community.

The space to be vacated by the tea hut is to support the new machine shed which is likely to be erected on Wednesday December 10. But before the demolition could commence, the 20-strong volunteering crew had to shift wood, metal and loam plus anything else that over the years had made its way into the Tardis-like tea hut.

Two pieces that had found such a home were framed works of art depicting MCC members in the stands at Lord’s – unfortunately both were destined for the rubbish skip as water and time had taken their toll.

After a few false starts and keeping health and safety at the forefront the demolition could go ahead, and with the help of a few ropes, a jeep, an axe and an alarming number of eager woodsmen, the structure finally came crashing down.

(It was more of a ‘down by stages’ but no-one will talk about it like that in years to come!).

Seven days after the demolition weekend the usual suspects gathered to clean out the pavilion, which is itself due for destruction before Christmas. The morning’s work was a success and Chairman and toilet cleaner extraordinaire, Richard Laudy, was at pains to point out that he had left the porcelain sparkling for the last time.

Hand in hand with the elbow grease comes the more cerebral work of Richard, Alan Culff and Peter Thorne. Meetings with Surrey CCC and Wolseley Build Center; promises of cement, paint, paving stones and insulation; as well as various grants and the VAT reduction bonus, all mean that the Ashtead CC pavilion project will soon be a reality.

Hopefully the gathering momentum – contracts with the builders should be finalised shortly – will bring in those new volunteers when they’re needed in the coming months!

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