Club pulls together to prepare for season openers

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Natwest Cricket Force Weekend

Cricket clubs around the country will this weekend be a hive of activity as clubs work to ensure that their facilities are ready for the new season.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday is the annual NatWest Cricket Force weekend, which is an England and Wales Cricket Board volunteering initiative when club members and supporters help with pre-season preparations.

This year in Northumberland, Alnmouth & Lesbury Cricket Club have been chosen as the county’s showcase club for the event.

The club is midway through a new building project which will see the club benefit from new changing rooms, toilets and facilities for officials, scorers and storage.

The construction, which is costing some £145,000, is being built by local contractor Stephen Willcox, who started work on February 11, and despite the cold weather, progress to date has been good and is scheduled for completion at the end of May.

Club chairman Andrew Hodgson said: “The whole club is looking forward to using improved facilities and not only will these benefit the playing side, it will give us better facilities for social and community events.

“NatWest Cricket Force weekend is an ideal opportunity for club volunteers to come together and ensure much-needed preparatory work takes place so the 2013 season gets off to a great start.”

The progress at the club has impressed Rob Woods, cricket development officer for north Northumberland, who said: “Many clubs across Northumberland are in the process of redeveloping their facilities for the coming season. Alnmouth & Lesbury CC have shown a commitment to redeveloping their changing facilities during the winter by raising a lot of money, which has shown by them achieving the County Showcase Club for 2013.

“The redevelopment of these facilities will enable the club to be more approachable in terms of school festivals and county games while also making it more of an enjoyable environment for their members.

“Saturday will be a brilliant afternoon to showcase all their hard work.”

On the day, club members and volunteers will be busy undertaking pitch preparation, external painting, cleaning and getting kit ready for the new season.

The season starts on April 20, when the first and second teams take on local rivals Alnwick in the Northumberland & Tyneside Senior Cricket League.