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Pandora's box

Posted in NatWest CricketForce 2010

At the end of last summer a small and dedicated working group at Bexhill Cricket Club began looking at ways in which we could improve our pavilion and the facilities that we have.

The problem we faced is that our pavilion is somewhat like Pandora’s Box – once we started to open it up then we did not quite know what we would find or where we would end up.

We had a plan of what we wanted it to look like. This plan includes building a storage area to the rear of our pavilion, installing new disabled toilets, providing a separate players' entrance to the changing rooms, updating our scorebox, moving the club bar and putting in new showers to the players' dressing rooms.

But where to start? How to pay for it? Who to do it? From this point of you NatWest CricketForce has been a lifesaver to us.

We decided to register for the event early on. We ran a successful CricketForce day in 2005 but with this project we really have our work cut out and so it was decided by the committee to apply to the Sussex Cricket Board to be the showcase club for the county.

In early November we were notified that our application had been successful and we were indeed the showcase club. Ever since that time we have been in overdrive trying to prepare.

The highs – the support shown to us by British Gypsum and their plant manager Mike Emson, or the success of our meeting with the Bexhill branch of Wickes who have been incredibly helpful. We have also been able to move our bar area prior to the CricketForce weekend which we are very proud of and are sure that our club members will like what they see.

Simon Funnell and Andy Hobbs at Sussex have given us a huge amount of assistance and knowing we have them there behind the scenes and on the day has really given us an impetus to get moving. We have had some great success stories already and also some worrying days. It’s the good days which make it all worthwhile.

The lows – without a doubt it must be the good old English weather. There is an old saying that if you want it to rain then organise a game of cricket. Well make anything cricket related! Days we have pencilled in to undertake specific items of work have naturally been days where it has snowed. We have also had some torrential rain at times which has highlighted the problems we have with our roof and guttering. Remember Pandora’s box.

And finally the odd – a club representative met with our local Wickes branch. We explained our project, our short and long term goals and how it would help the local community and straight away the store manager was supportive and on board. So much so that they donated a bath tub from their warehouse which we could do with what we liked. This for us is a fantastic example of how CricketForce can work. It just goes to show that anyone can help and be involved. You must ask.

With less than three weeks before the big day we are getting closer and closer to being ready. We email out a weekly newsletter to all our members with updates, requests for help and ideas of what will be going on.

Hourly phone calls seem to be made between the project team with updates, ideas and changes made. There will be positives and negatives. There will be things that go to plan and things which we inadvertently forget but even now CricketForce has given the club a real sense of optimism coming into the new season.