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The snowball effect of NatWest CricketForce

Posted in NatWest CricketForce 2008

It’s been a mild winter here in Cardiff. Damp as usual but so far no snow. Yet, since Dave Leighton, from the ECB, poked his head round the door the snowball effect has been going off all over the place.

After 30 years without a ground, NatWest CricketForce barely raised a ripple within the Lisvane CC membership… that is until 2008.

Barely was the ink dry on our rolling lease with the Cardiff YMCA to bring their cricket ground in a leafy corner of St Mellons Golf Club back into use after a six year absence than some bright spark suggested we register for NWCF 2008.

“What’s that?” came the cry from most round the table. “I think it’s a few parents, club stalwarts and ex-players armed with a paintbrush giving of their free time over a weekend just before the season starts,” suggested one of our more well-read members.

There was no doubting the club house could do with a lick of paint, but then there were also the changing rooms. Demolition might be kinder in the long-run for them.

Of course, first of all we had to remove the cans of lager and cider left there since 2002 – an excellent vintage I have since been assured. And we certainly needed a tea urn, as Eric Morecambe was frequently heard to quip.

“What about nets?” “Good plan. 2-bay or 4-bay?” “We’ll be needing an NTP” “TCP? Plasters as well in that case.” “No, it’s a Non-Turf Pitch”. Ah, well the gentle sound of a snowflake tumbling slowly downhill, gathering, gathering, gathering…

Then Dave Leighton arrived in town. He had been invited by Geoff Holmes and Peter Edwards from the Cricket Board of Wales, who had noticed our NatWest CricketForce application and liked the sound of it.

“There’s a club down here who want to bring back into use a ground after a lengthy absence. If they can do it, it will be the first cricket ground anywhere in the East of Cardiff. Why don’t you come down and take a look?”

As anyone who has ever met Dave Leighton will testify, the rest is history.

It started with four of us gathered around a table. At the last count we were up to 12. What began as a bit of grass-cutting and a coat of emulsion has now become, courtesy of architect Tim Mathias, the nugget of a new club house and the dream of a cricket facility to rival the very finest.

Ken Mitchell leads us, a man with enough enthusiasm to match Dave Leighton on Red Bull. He also is a man who does not know how to accept “no” as an answer (believe me I’ve tried saying it to him in 37 different languages at the last count and he still doesn’t get it) which is a great skill to have when you’ve got no money!

Dave’s coming back to town on February 21. At the moment we’ve booked Lisvane Village Hall (max occupancy 150) for the public meeting to rally the troops.

“Do you think it will be too small?” asked one timid voice. “Good thinking”, came back Ken. “I’ll get on to the Welsh Rugby Union right away and see if they’re using the Millennium Stadium that day.”

Anyone seen a snowball roll by?

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