Gatting backing Bognor cricketers’ spruce-up

Mike Gatting is wishing Bognor members good luck for their annual spruce-up
Mike Gatting is wishing Bognor members good luck for their annual spruce-up

As a new season dawns at Bognor Cricket Club, ground developments continue to flourish.

The club are entering its third year of a five-year development plan which has seen substantial improvments to facilities, financed by sponsers and grants such as the Sita Trust.

Over three years, the club have raised funding of £100,000-plus to pay for new covers and equipment.

Advanced plans have been put in place for a full refurbishment of artificial nets, but these require a further £35,000.

The youth set-up continues to go from strength to strength. The growing youth section - under-tens through to under-16s - train on Fridays between 4.30pm and 7.15pm.

The under-16s are still revelling in winning the Sussex Champions League t20 final under floodlights at Hove last year. Talent from the youth team regularly graduates into the first XI, with all 15 members of the current squad coming through the ranks. Seniors train on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6pm from next week.

The club look to make a strong showing in the new division three of the Sussex League this year, having finished third in division three west last year.

You can follow them on Twitter (@bognorcricket) or Facebook (Bognor Regis Cricket Club) and anyone wishing to enquire about training or matches can contact Luke Seward on 07825 589089.

Meanwhile, former England captain Mike Gatting is urging the community to lend a helping hand at Bognor CCC this weekend.

The 13th annual NatWest CricketForce takes place with Bognor one of a record-breaking 2,014 clubs registered to participate.

Thousands will come together to clean, tidy, repair and revitalise clubhouses and cricket grounds ahead of the new season.

Bognor will be among them today (Saturday), two years after being graced by the presence of Gatting as he rolled his sleeves up and got stuck int.

Gatting, who played 79 Tests and 92 ODIs for England and is now the ECB’s managing director of cricket partnerships, said: “The overriding thing about all these clubs is the passion of the stalwarts and the interest from the new people.

“Depending on how much the work the club have done, whether it’s getting local councillors down, mayors or people from the local community it always amazes me how they manage to get the word out and how many people turn up.

“It’s a great way of giving the club a bit of publicity within the local area because when you do things like that it’s great for the community, it’s a safe place for people to go and play cricket and it’s a family atmosphere.

“You could see the wonderful community spirit down at Bognor, turning the place into something that would be beneficial to a community.”

Gatting added: “It is wonderful news that a record-breaking number of clubs have already registered to hold a NatWest CricketForce event.

“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 clubs renovate and improve facilities before each season with the help of members and their wider communities. Find out when your local club’s event is and lend a hand at ecb.co.uk/nwcf

CHARLIE LA FORET & PADDY VON BEHR