ROSS-on-Wye Cricket Club are determined to beat Mother Nature after drafting in help from the community to ensure they are ready for the start of the new season.
While next month will see the 13th annual NatWest CricketForce take place across the country from April 4-6, Ross-on-Wye held their get together almost a month early.
Designed to help the community come together to clean, tidy, repair and revitalise clubhouses and grounds in time for the new season, Ross-on-Wye certainly needed the assistance.
Ross-on-Wye have suffered terribly with the bad weather over the winter, in particular flooding, with areas of their home ground under up to 18 inches of water.
Drainage has once again been at the top of their agenda and club chairman and treasurer Stuart Mair is adamant the bad winter weather won’t hinder their plans for the new season.
“It will be very expensive to repair the netting and clear up from the flooding,” he said. “The flood water got underneath the carpet of the artificial nets and which has raised the level of the surface and ripped them up.
“Our second-team pitch is an artificial wicket which has been caked in mud as the water has not long receded.
“We have got wooden posts around the ground, which are linked together with rope and we have got to replace 20 of them which have rotted over the winter because of the floods.
“With the flooding we have had to put 10 tons of gravel down as well as 150 metres of drainage in the outfield but we believe it is well worth the money.”
The scheme is supported by former England captain and current ECB Managing Director of Cricket Partnerships Mike Gatting.
And Gatting, who played 79 Tests and 92 ODIs for England, insists the recent bad weather makes the 2014 edition even more crucial to clubs like Ross-on-Wye.
“It is wonderful news that a record-breaking number of clubs have already registered to hold a NatWest CricketForce event,” Gatting said.
“In particular, the challenges presented by the nationwide floods at the start of this year, means that the 2014 effort is more important than ever before.
“Cricket clubs across the country represent the lifeblood of the sport, and it is hugely important that we all pull together and look after playing facilities.”
NatWest CricketForce is an ECB project helping cricket clubs renovate and improve their facilities before each season with the help of members and their wider communities. Find out when your local club event is (4-6 April), and lend a hand at ecb.co.uk/nwcf