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Chairman Steve de Souza ready to celebrate Burghill & Tillington's 40 years
THERE might be a parachute display at Burghill and Tillington Cricket Club this weekend – but chairman Steve de Souza is keeping his feet on the ground.
The villagers are celebrating their 40th anniversary on Sunday and the scene is also set for a promotion party at the end of the campaign.
“Every year, we try to have a plan,” said Steve, who started playing for Burghill in 2001.
“This year our plan was to have a bar and a tea room, which we’ve achieved.
“Our plan for the next 12 months is to get into Worcestershire County League Division One and run a third team.”
Burghill are top of the Divison Two table and pushing for promotion to the top flight for the first time.
“In 2008, we joined the Worcestershire League and for the first two years, we had consecutive promotions,” said Steve.
“It’s looking very likely that we could get promotion and, for that we would need to start a third team.
“We are hoping to have a team in Marches League Division Five and play at Weobley .”
“We need to consolidate and bring in some quality players. If there’s anyone in the county who would like a challenge, we’d love to see them.”
The club’s 40th birthday celebrations are taking place at their Brick House Farm ground from noon on Sunday.
A parachute display will deliver the match ball and there will be live music, official bar opening and a Twenty20 match involving past and present players.
“It’s going to be a good day – we just hope the weather is kind and allows us to have the parachute display,” said Steve.
“Kingsley Morris will captain the past team which will include people like David Keyte , Clive Chadhani and Ian Macklin.”
Steve was born in Guyana and says his love for cricket was fuelled by watching West Indian greats like Alvin Kallicharran and Lance Gibbs.
His father was involved in the oil industry and the family moved to Aberdeen in the 1970s.
Steve also works in the oil industry and can be away from home for a couple of weeks at a time.
He moved to Herefordshire in 1991 when his wife, Siobhan, secured a job at Hereford Cathedral School.
“In the 1970s and 1980s, the club was very strong and then in the 1990s it went through a very hard patch. “It looked like the club was going to go under – things got so difficult. “But people like Neil Box and Richie Downes, Graham Pennington and John Blandford stuck together and kept the club going.” Steve initially played at Dorstone. He joined Burghill in 2001 and took over as chairman three years later.
“I love being involved in the club and my wife sometimes thinks I love the club more than her,” said Steve, who has two sons, Miles and Tyson. “I get a lot of pleasure out of what the club is doing and we’re doing something for the benefit of the community.
“Not long ago we were in Division Two of the Marches League and now we’ve got a fantastic club with lots of enthusiasm.
“We’ve got some great people like Les Gibson, who is the groundsman and chief bottle washer.
“Alex Hedges has been a leading player for us. He’s now married to a Hereford girl and has turned down money to play for another club in this county. Byron Newton is our captain and we’ve attracted Jim Burston who has played in the Kent Premier Division.
“We have extended the pavilion, built a tea room and we have also got a new two-lane net facility.”
However, the chairman admits that it’s not always plain sailing.
“I am the manager of the oil rig that I work on, currently in Holland, and that’s a large operation.
“I think It’s easier to run an oil rig rig than to run a cricket club. You have to be a diplomat and pull everyone together towards one goal.”