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What a legacy for Kirby Muxloe

Posted in NatWest CricketForce 2008

James Taylor - NatWest CricketForce 2008, Kirby Muxlue

© Getty Images

Looking back at what started in late September 2007 where two slightly barking club members strode across the wet outfield getting soaked, taking photos, scribbling notes, sharing random dreams about building a new pavilion, to reflecting on what Kirby Muxloe CC have in place now, you get an overwhelming sense of pride and satisfaction from saying ‘look what we’ve achieved’.

To me it was all very simple. We (the cricket club) had a choice – do we watch our club and all its history deteriorate in front of our very eyes, as it had been doing for the past five years, or do we make a difference, and attempt something very special?

The choice we made was to register for NatWest CricketForce 2008. We shared our vision and excitement with our members, and after early scepticism and apathy we formed a united team with one common aim - to make our cricket club a showpiece venue for existing and new players of all ages to want to play.

Of course it wasn’t that easy. I for one didn’t expect the rollercoaster journey we were about to embark on at the time. I honestly believe if we’d thought about it too much and allow realism to control the desire and vision a few of us had in abundance at the time, we’d have never made the choice of building a new pavilion, and instead would’ve patched up the old port-a-cabin we had in place. Unthinkable.

So, we followed the dream and created the team. Initial club meetings sandwiched by a presentation given by ECB’s David Leighton on Bonfire Night 2007 resulted in us committing to a ‘one off’ showcase CricketForce event on January 4 and changing the direction of the club forever.

I’ve previously written about what a great day that was, - to get the England U19s, Mike Gatting, the media, and everything that goes with it down to a small village club like Kirby Muxloe was incredible.

If it wasn’t true, I’m not sure how many people would’ve believed it actually happened. To some it still feels like a dream today.

The reality was that a core group of club members aged 13 - 58 sacrificed a great deal of time and effort to provide a base for the event to happen. The same group plus welcome additions carried on, gaining momentum week by week, giving up their weekends through winter and spring, raising money, involving the local community and businesses, having a laugh on the way.

Nothing was going to stop us, although we overcame many obstacles along the way.

The outcome was, and is, a spectacular success. A new pavilion, unrecognizable playing surroundings, three talented and successful new junior teams in 2008, Focus Club status, hosting of five Leicestershire Young Cricketer matches in 2008 (none previously and a visit from Peter Moores at one of them!), re-engagement with many ex players, grant awards in excess of £14,000 for a new roller, bowling machine, sight screens and mobile cage net - the list goes on and on.

To the club though, the legacy left by NatWest CricketForce 2008 is equally important. At least one extra junior team in 2009, selection as a 2009 Chance to shine club, very strong school/club links, more and more juniors attending practice sessions, two more level 2 coaches, and up to six set to go on Level 1 courses this year, strong links with local businesses and authorities, and hopefully an up-turn in fortunes for our senior teams (our 2nd team are currently vying for promotion). Again the list goes on…

So what’s next?

We’ve all had a bit of a break to recharge the batteries and play some cricket but NatWest CricketForce never really stops now at Kirby Muxloe Cricket Club.

After an initial ‘2008 what went well/not so well’ meeting, planning for our 2009 event is well under way with projects ranging from pavilion disabled ramps, railings, and storage improvements planned, to ambitious projects of equipment shed re-roofing to pavilion toilets/showers being considered as viable.