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A truly great effort!

Posted in NatWest CricketForce 2009

Day One

Happily the predicted snow never arrived, although a volunteer workforce of over 70 did have to battle with weather ranging from hailstones to rain and sunny intervals. The overall assessment of day one from Project Manager Elgin was that the projects had progressed further than anticipated, so hopes were high of a more leisurely Sunday. Some hope.

Club Chairman Ian Plant was first to arrive, at 5.30am, although quite what he was required to do for five hours before everybody else arrived nobody else is quite certain. It seems that complaining to everybody else about not being present at 5.30 was pretty high on his agenda!

Cheadle - Steve Stubbings

© Tom Walker

It was unfortunate for the ECB Cricket Factory roadshow that cold and wet weather ensured a quiet day’s work for Nikki and the team. The youngsters on site split their time between taking part in the factory activities and mucking in to help with the workload, however, a throwing competition between Derbyshire County Cricket batsman Stephen Stubbings (left) and the Factory coaches provided half an hour of entertainment for onlookers.

All fears of an unsubstantial volunteer workforce were quickly dispelled as the real work commenced at approximately 10am. Over 70 volunteers were quickly organised by the voice of the project Steve Plant and by the time the bar was opened for lunch at mid-day, plenty of progress on all projects had been made.

By the lunch break on day one, much of the required decking had been completed, the tiling and plastering in the toilets was well on course and although the installation of furniture had not yet begun, the positive difference that the Members’ Lounges renovation was going to make had also become already abundantly clear.

Cheadle - Saturday Workforce

The Saturday workforce break for a quick pic for the record © Tom Walker

Manager Steve selected a very youthful team for the task of giving a much needed renovation to the net facilities and they did the club proud by successfully removing the old netting and installing new. When the announcement went out from Steve that the lads around the nets required the help of some sensible and experienced old hands as the operation reached its conclusion, there was a little concern when John Shaw was the only person to turn and make for the area. All ended well, however, and the result was a good one.

Work, meanwhile, continued on the three major projects; namely the complete renovation of the members’ pavilion, the decking of a new patio area on the pavilion side of the ground and the complete refurbishment of the ground’s main toilet facilities.

The club’s ladies were set to benefit the most from the toilet renovations and they repaid the gentlemen carrying out the work tenfold with a splendid catering operation throughout the weekend. Food and drink was readily available to the workforce at all times, ensuring that the excuse of empty tummies for any work not being completed would not wash with anybody!

At the end of the day, although there was still much to be done, the site managers were happy with the overnight position. With the wedding reception of a member the destination for many as the evening’s festivities begun, how clean a bill of health the group would return with in Sunday was the subject of some discussion.

Day Two

Sure enough the beginning to Sunday was slow as people drifted to the ground in dribs and drabs and in various stages of recovery. There certainly wasn’t a great deal of brotherly love on show as the hungover Plant brothers, Simon and Darren, completed the task of restoring broken fence panels on the outside of the ground!

Those who did arrive early were in determined mood and the process of filling in and re-turfing the enormous trench that had been dug to feed an electronic power line to the scorebox was completed early doors.

An early morning appearance from recently retired Derbyshire County Cricket Club stalwart Kevin Dean, a player who came through the youth ranks at Cheadle, was followed by a welcome visit from local professional footballers Gareth Owen (Port Vale) and Andy Wilkinson (Stoke City).

Although Andy’s rise to Premier League prominence with Stoke City makes him the more high profile of the two players, it was Gareth that was in demand by BBC Radio Stoke due to his Cheadle roots and history of playing for Cheadle as a youngster and he remains a frequent visitor to the ground to this day.

Cheadle - Footballers

Andy Grice (marketing and Funding Director Staffordshire Cricket), Gareth Owen (Port Vale FC), Ian Plant (Chairman Cheadle CC), Andy Wilkinson (Stoke City), Jason Britton (Cricket Development Manager Staffordshire Cricket) © Tom Walker

Gareth has become a real expert at talking to the media and he spoke superbly both to the radio and into our own video camera. He had nothing but praise for the NatWest CricketForce project and the club in general which was terrific to hear.

A visit from an Evening Sentinel photographer was very welcome and he took a selection of excellent photographs, many including Andy and Gareth and one a group shot which included more than 80 volunteers.

Cheadle - Owen

Gareth Owen checks out the work in progress © Tom Walker

One of the volunteers in particular was trying everything to hide his face on the photograph as his own club, Meir Heath, may have been a little surprised to see him helping out Cheadle whilst missing out on his own club’s pre-season working party!

The new decking to be placed underneath the spectators benches became a real focus on the Sunday and it was with that group that Gareth found his home for the afternoon alongside the likes of Marcus Berry, Chris Prince, Dave Tavenor and Will Riley. Despite some earlier concern that the job may not be completed by the end of the day, the lads pulled together to get the job done.

Cheadle Smiles

All smiles for CricketForce © Tom Walker

The ladies branched out of the kitchen later on the afternoon as the clean-up operation began and the good weather meant that there was even the opportunity for some Kwik Cricket to be played on the outfield; professional Shaun Rashid falling victim caught in the outfield off the bowling of a junior to provide a particular highlight of the impromptu game.

All projects were completed by the end of the day and, despite some tired faces, there was great satisfaction among the group about what had been achieved.

Overall, NatWest CricketForce showcase statement was a huge success for Cheadle Cricket Club because it gave the club the impetus to carry out jobs that had been required for some time.

The level of volunteer support was magnificent as the club’s members, both senior and junior, pulled together and enjoyed the weekend as well as providing the necessary work ethic for the project to succeed.

The NatWest CricketForce committee have already offered to give advice and guidance to any Staffordshire showcase clubs of the future and, after the success of this year Staffordshire Cricket have indicated a willingness to put forward more showcase clubs in future years.

The renovation of the past two days has undoubtedly made Cheadle Cricket Club a more welcoming place and hopefully the solidarity created by the event will see our support increase. Now for a successful 2009 on the field.

List of projects undertaken and completed:

  • Complete renovation of the Members Lounge facility
  • Catering (breakfasts, lunches, teas and refreshments throughout)
  • Renovation of ladies and gents toilets including tiling and new facilities
  • Installation of new showers and tiling in the shower area
  • Decoration of changing rooms
  • Newly built and decked patio area for spectators
  • Painting of main function room
  • Entertainment and Public Address
  • Painting of sight screens and restoration of spectator benches
  • Installation of brand new netting on net facilities
  • Layering of a power cable to around the ground from main building round to the Scorebox and net area
  • New decking laid for all spectator benches
  • Restoration of the ground’s outside fencing
  • Decoration and carpeting of the scorebox
  • Tidy and general maintenance of the groundsman’s shed.


  • Derbyshire County Cricket Club batsman Stephen Stubbings
  • Chairman of Staffordshire Cricket, Gerald Williams
  • Events Manager of Cricket World Magazine, Jim White
  • Former Derbyshire County Cricket Club and Cheadle fast-bowler Kevin Dean
  • Staffordshire Cricket Development Team (Marketing and Funding Director Andy Grice, Cricket Development Manager Jason Britton, Cricket Development Officer Alison Grimley, Community Coach David Ford)
  • ECB Cricket Factory
  • Chairman of the North Staffs and South Cheshire Cricket League Chris Hopkin
  • Port Vale footballer Gareth Owen
  • Stoke City footballer Andy Wilkinson
  • The Mayor of Cheadle


Staffordshire Cricket Marketing and Funding Director Andy Grice: “I am delighted with what has been achieved at Cheadle. With new members, people from the community who are not even members, NatWest employees and over 100 members, this was a truly great effort.

Staffordshire Cricket are rightly proud of what Cheadle Cricket Club has achieved and to see a local painter and decorator give what was close to 100 hours of his time for free is very humbling."

Cheadle Cricket Club Project Manager Elgin Smith said: “I was delighted to see the project drawn to a conclusion and was extremely encouraged by the support shown by the volunteers.

“Both members and the general public came out in support of the quite excellent work by the organising committee, and builders and skills tradesmen who were all equally responsible for putting the successful project together.”

Estimated Costs are that Cheadle CC have spent £10,000 towards a full project cost of over £45,000

Cheadle Sunday Workforce

A wave of satisfaction spreads across the Sunday workforce © Tom Walker

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