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NatWest CricketForce, in January - you’re having a laugh?!

Posted in NatWest CricketForce 2008

It’s hard to believe that it’s already a fortnight since our showcase NWCF event that is sure to go down in Kirby Muxloe Cricket Club’s history as our ‘Day of Fame’.

Looking back with fond memories it seems like only last night that we were larking about that evening, enjoying a drink or two in our Sports and Village Club bar.

The mixed sense of relief and achievement of successfully hosting a high-profile event in the presence of Mike Gatting, other senior ECB representatives, and the England U19 squad and management team left us all stunned afterwards - albeit with silly ear-to-ear grins on our faces!

I was at Edgbaston when David Collier, ECB chief executive, officially launched the 2008 event at the NatWest Series ODI against India on August 27 2007. I thought at the time wouldn’t it be great if we could stage a low-profile event for the following April to properly prepare us for the new season.

Officially, our NWCF journey started back in late October on a cold Saturday lunchtime down at the ground. We talked about something called NatWest Cricket Force and took a load of pictures of our old pavilion and surrounding areas. While Paul snapped away I scribbled down a job list.

To me NWCF would be the perfect vehicle for us to drive our much needed but ambitious new pavilion plans. We had no money, a rotten old Portacabin pavilion, but some great people within the club who I knew would throw themselves at any realistic plans to drive the club forward.

So having convinced our committee at the following week’s monthly meeting we shared the dream with Chris Porter, our local Cricket Development Manager at Grace Road.

From there things started to move very quickly; Dave Leighton, ECB Clubs Progamme Manager liked our proposal, and at a few days notice 40 of us turned up on bonfire night to listen to Dave enthusiastically selling the NWCF success story to us, with a twist….

The twist was for Kirby Muxloe to be the club to host a one-off, probably never to be repeated, NWCF event on January 4 2008. The additional incentive to us was that the England U19 squad would potentially join us as volunteers on the day to build our pavilion.

During the meeting Dave asked us “Did we want to go for it?” Most of us replied “You bet we do!” although we had one or two cautious (probably sensible) doubters who’s reactions were a combination of “you’re having a laugh, we’ll be up to our knees in snow”, to “can’t we push to do it all in April?”

Less than a week later we held our first NWCF meeting to select our preferred pavilion. After much debate we chose a rather attractive looking log cabin measuring twice the size of our existing building.

One week on 15 of us had great fun demolishing our old pavilion. “No going back now,” one member quipped as the first wall tumbled. How right he was!

We always knew that time was against us. We toiled for four successive weekends to prepare and lay a substantial concrete base; indeed the base was laid on December 21, and it was only at this stage were we confident that the event would go ahead as planned.

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