The NatWest CricketForce message spreads quickly
Posted in NatWest CricketForce 2008
Hambledon’s involvement with this extensive project started many months ago in a very spontaneous manner.
I was driving back from taking photographs of our fire-damaged pavilion and had the radio tuned to Test Match Special. My mind was preoccupied with how awful the ground was looking and how on earth we were going to be able to host a cricket season in such a state. The pavilion had been destroyed and we only had smoke filled changing rooms left.
However, my attention was soon turned to the guest who was being interviewed during the lunch break on TMS. They were talking about NatWest CricketForce and the benefits clubs could receive if they got involved.
I was suddenly listening to conversations of painting, rebuilding and grand projects being completed. Suddenly there seemed hope for our pavilion – and I immediately emailed our Hon.Sec (who happens to be my father!), and asked him to register us as soon as possible! It seemed to be a realistic way of helping our club after such a set back.
Some months later. I was very excited to hear that we had been picked to be a showcase club for the ECB over CricketForce weekend! This led to a series of meetings with the committee and Ben Thompson from Hampshire Cricket Board to discuss feasibility and ambition.
ECB’s David Leighton also came down from Manchester to meet our chairman and secretary to get the ball rolling.
The emphasis of NatWest Cricket Force 2008 has been centred on making clubs more ‘eco-friendly’. For Hambledon this has meant that we have plans to install a water butt system to aid our groundsman.
Water can be stored all winter and then used on the ground over the summer when water bans are at their height. We just have to convince our groundsman to this new way of ‘eco’ thinking!
We have also applied to our local council to assess the possibility of installing glass recycling at the ground. The amount of bottles that we use is incredible and a practical way of recycling them would be a real benefit to the club.
All these ideas finally cumulated in a club presentation by David Leighton during February. The talk was inspirational for all areas of the club – from the colts in the audience as well as the more experienced club members.
For most of the committee it was also a bit of a reality check – this was going to be a massive project with endless potential and we’d be crazy to not make the very most of it.
The next day the emails were flying! David pointed out the importance of thanking people so we made a real effort to email all those who attended to thank them for coming. The aim was to keep them engaged and keen after such an inspirational meeting!
It seemed to work as responses came back almost immediately! In the space of 24 hours after David’s meeting offers started to filter through. We had an offer ‘in kind’ from Southern Electric who were keen to help with the installation of our new hut (our temporary pavilion). We also had been approached by a local building firm keen to get involved, as well as a landscape designer. It was astonishing how quickly the NatWest CricketForce message had spread.
We now enter a period of meticulous planning and ensuring the right people are involved with the right jobs. If the enthusiasm the club has shown already is anything to go by, it’s sure to be a fantastic success!