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What have we gone and done?

Posted in NatWest CricketForce 2009

I am writing this blog after our meeting with one of our members, the architect Peter Thompson, who is responsible for advising us on the largest ever project to take place under the Barnsley branch of NatWest CricketForce – the recreation of our ground into the 'new' Shaw Lane.

Ten years ago, Barnsley Football Club were with the millionaires in the Premiership and Barnsley Cricket Club were in the bargain basement, with a substandard wicket, dilapidated portacabin changing rooms and two teams enjoying little success on the field.

Successive years of improvement on and off the field have seen the phoenix rise from the ashes. One thing still eluded us, however – a place to call home.

Now don’t get me wrong, the new changing rooms built in 2000 to house the rugby teams were more than adequate, but their distance from the playing area made for a few mad scrambles when quick wickets fell!

In September Yorkshire Seconds, playing at the Lane for the first time since 1985, even watched events from a pitchside gazebo. One thing was clear - if the ground was to build on the success of hard work in past years, then pitchside accommodation was urgently needed.

Funds were applied for but not forthcoming, so a bit of self-help was needed. We have taken part in NatWest CricketForce in previous years and have enjoyed it immensely, however we were sceptical if anything other than a good spring clean was practical.

Barnsley NatWest CricketForce

Laying the foundations - the work begins at Barnsley

Step forward the Barnsley PCT and our landlords Barnsley RUFC. To cut a long story short the hospital had, in the words of Mick, our site manager, a 'spare portable building'. 'Oh no - not another portacabin,' I moaned. 'Go and look at it' was the reply.

I was duly dispatched and returned, unable to locate a portacabin but instead seeing a brick built new nursery building. 'That’s it,' said Mick.

Several matters were ironed out, including if it could be moved - yes, how to move it - difficult but possible, the reasons why it should be moved - obvious, and the cost - don’t mention that!

Several crash courses in NHS procurement procedures and health and safety legislation - what is a method statement anyway? - saw the fateful day of the move dawn wet and miserable, but 12 hours later, we did it – the building was now in its new home in our grounds looking over our pitch. The problem that we have is a lovely one but quite new. We have the space but the space needs to be made cricket friendly.

We need changing rooms in the new building with decent showers and a viewing area for players and spectators to watch the game from, together with a new tea room. This would make the investment in our future as a cricket ground complete. The answer – two hours in the company of Gareth Davis, Dave Leighton and Dan Musson saw the creation of the first county board showcase NWCF project. 'Can we?' changed into 'can do!'.

A joint project committee consisting of all interested parties, both rugby and cricket was formed and away we go.

'Oh and while we are at it we might as well….'

Familiar phrase? Well the good folk at Shaw Lane take this to the nth degree. While we are at it we might as well – knock down the dangerous scoreboard, to be closed on health and safety grounds anyway, the groundsman’s hovel, sorry, shed goes as its part of the same building, the portacabin referred to earlier goes, so that we can have a larger car park.

All in all the plans have been discussed for our new home and are, as they say, on the drawing board.

All I can say is – watch this space.

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