Cricket club fights for future

Published on: 26 Aug 2016

DOWNEND Cricket Club is facing a funding crisis following its decision to remain at the WG Grace Memorial Ground.
The monthly lottery launched to enable the historic club to safeguard its future has not taken off as hoped and the club is losing money every month.
Now it is urging everyone who wants cricket to remain at the heart of the village to sign up for tickets.
A notice on the club's website warns: “Without the money that the lottery will raise, this famous club will no longer compete at the highest level and could possibly even cease to exist at the WG Grace Memorial Ground.”
Plans for the club's survival were based on selling 400 lottery numbers but so far only half that amount have been purchased.The draw is for monthly cash prizes of £250, £100 and £50 with additional bonus prizes from sponsor Greene King.
When the lottery was launched in March, the aim was to ensure that Downend Cricket Club, founded in 1893,  could not only survive but thrive.
The club, which runs three senior teams and several junior teams and offers coaching and cricket for all ages from five upwards,  wants to update its facilities and develop its offer for youth and women's cricket, and has been looking at ways to attract more grants.
It spent several years working with a developer to seek an alternative site  in or near Downend where it could provide two pitches as well as improved social facilities.
But traditionalists did not want the club to abandon the ground where it has played since 1920.
Last year, members at the annual meeting did not feel that any of the options proposed by the developer – who wanted to create flats and shops at the four-acre cricket pitch in the village centre – met their criteria so they voted to stay put.
If you would like to sign up for the lottery, you can find details on the club's website. Each entry costs £5 a month. Participants can buy entries via a monthly standing order, or by purchasing six or 12 months’ entries with cash.

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