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You can build a better club

Posted in NatWest CricketForce 2010

For each of the last few years, Great Corby has registered for NatWest CricketForce.

In that time, we've had the T-Shirts, we've tidied round the edges of the club, we've persuaded ourselves we were doing something valuable and important for the season ahead.

In reality, we probably hadn't done much, certainly not as much as we could.

But this year was different, very different.

We were told we were an Cumbria Cricket Board Showcase Club in the North West, which made us realise that this time round we really did have to come up with something different.

At first we discussed some big ideas, we tried to think outside the box, we wondered who we knew who could spend a fortune on Great Corby.

In the end we discovered that the best way to make a difference was - exactly as we'd been advised - to get as many people to our club as possible. Members, players, supporters, juniors and parents.

Great Corby CC

Young volunteers came to help out at Great Corby and also took part in some coaching drills

And so we drew up a list of tasks that we could all take part in and which would benefit the club. We e-mailed, Twittered, Facebooked and phoned round, thinking we'd struggle to rouse the troops.

As it was, people came freely and with enthusiasm, ready to help. Over the course of the day, we estimate that at least 40 people came down, as well as a large number of mainly under-11 players keen to sample some county standard coaching.

In the event, we edged off a pavement to improve pedestrian access on match days, we painted the pavilion afresh, we dug a sump for waste from our new kitchen, we installed a money saving water butt, we made photo-collages from our archives to show visitors what we're about, artist Catherine Coulthard designed a unique tiled mural for juniors to fill in to comemorate the day, we painted access gates, debris was collected from the outfield to make pitch preparation easier, a pitch consultant came to give us free advice on reinstating a proper cricket square and free food and refreshment was provided by volunteers.

And these were just some of the things we did.

From that day has also come the prospect of substantial business sponsorship, help to take us forward as an ambitious club.

But the best thing was - again as we'd been told - that people will come, that they will support what you do, that their help will make a massive difference, and that if we're serious about building and sustaining a club, then these are the people who will make that happen.

There are a lot of empty buzzwords about. But in this case, we can say with certainty that because of NatWest CricketForce and the support we received from Malclolm Wood in Cumbria, we designed an event that has brought us huge goodwill and the foundations for future success.

That's the legacy we'd like to leave. That we can do it again next year, and the year after, and that people will keep coming back.

With the enthusiasm derived from NatWest CricketForce, we have plans for an expanded and improved pavilion, seats at one end of the ground for spectators and a fundraising drive to make it all happen.

Great Corby CC

All work and no play - after lending a hand, some youngsters at Great Corby have a quick game

In the meantime, we also have new committee members at the club with energy and ambition, and kids who were inspired by the coaching from board representatives Abby Richardson and Malcolm Wood.

Of course, we rounded it off in the traditional fashion, with a few beers. But they tasted even sweeter because the day was a huge success.

Finally, I've thanked our parents, members and supporters. But thank you too, the ECB, for making us realise that if you want to make a difference, build a better club - you can.