NatWest CricketForce Action Report.
Dave Leighton who featured a few days ago, has very kindly sent Third Man a report of last week’s high profile activities.
He writes, “The NatWest CricketForce weekend was stunning with the most remarkable results achieved. I have been to Harrow St Mary’s CC, Middlesex, Gedling Colliery CC, Notts and Scarborough CC, Yorks over the past 3 days and seen Gus Fraser and the Middlesex team painting a pavilion all day, Andrew Strauss and Charlotte Edwards signing autographs and giving interviews, Mike Gatting digging trenches and painting all day, Graeme Swann singing live with his band at Gedling, ‘Dickie’ Bird with a paint brush in hand, Jimmy Anderson working at Scarborough and Vernon Coaker MP in his scruffy clothes filling a skip.
“If you add in new roof, new kitchen, a new umpires’ changing room, new womens’ changing room, a new disabled ramp, electricity cables being laid, new scoreboards, hedge planting, wall and fence painting and the biggest volunteer community workforce you could imagine, at these 3 clubs alone we had over 750 people attend. These included volunteers from Construction Colleges in Derby and the Yorkshire coast providing real expertise and the probation service chipping in too.
“When I started this job I would never have dreamed of all this happening in a weekend. Club cricket has really received a significant boost. Have a look at www.ecb.co.uk/natwestcricketforce for the full stories.”
Messers Brown, Cameron and Clegg note well; if it’s broken, the united cricketing community fixes it.
If you go down to your club today you’ll be sure of a big surprise. Bats have been swapped for brooms, balls for paint pots and flannels* for overalls … well you get the idea.
Third Man will be there as his local organiser has done a deal with the nearby chippy, who has bravely agreed to provide a fish supper** for anyone volunteering to join the NatWest Cricket Force action weekend.
Over 130 under 11s attend cricket practice there on Thursday evenings. Sang Lee (for it is he and his wife) may need some biblical techniques if he is to keep up supplies.
Nat West is now almost (80%) entirely owned by ‘us’. It’s OUR bank and its doing its bit for OUR clubs and over 1,5o0 clubs have already signed up to take part in the event.
As ECB Club Programmes Manager, David Leighton, said: “We want every sports-lover nationwide to show support for their local cricket club this year by getting involved in NatWest CricketForce. Whether it’s by painting a bench, repairing the score-box or mending nets, there are many ways in which volunteers can make a difference and bring a real sense of community spirit to the event.”
If any one else higher up at the ECB had asked Third Man to get down to the ground he might just have shrugged, but Dave is a special person. He typifies everything that’s good about Lancastrian cricket. He expects the highest standards but leads by example. He sells his wicket dear but knows the value of the game. ‘Nough said.
*Flannels are to creams, whites, trackies as wireless sets are to radios, walkmen and MP3 players. As you see from the above banner, in the ‘70s – that’s the 1770s – we favoured a more relaxed dress code on the field.
**Diet is an increasingly important part of the modern game, in recognition of which, ECB has appointed blogger Mike Gatting as Managing Director Cricket Partnerships.