Downend Cricket Club prepare for packed 2014

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AN exciting season lies ahead for Downend Cricket Club, as they prepare to welcome back the Lashings All Stars for the fourth year running and build on last year’s league positions, writes Katrina Podlewska.

The season begins with the annual NatWest Cricketforce weekends (April 5-6 and 12-13), when players and community members muck in to clean, paint and get the ground ready for the months ahead.

Club captain Matthew Jackson said: “The facilities will be used hundreds of times over the season and this work is really important to get everything in working order.  Anyone can join us and volunteer – the more the merrier. Just turn up on the day!”

The Cricketforce weekend will start at 9am on both Saturdays and Sundays. Local businesses can also provide support with materials like paint, brushes and cleaning products. If you have items to donate, contact downendcricket@gmail.com.

Adding to the spring-cleaned ground will be four new sight screens, following a successful bid from the club’s committee for partial funding to help with their purchase. Strong winds badly damaged one of the sight screens last winter. The new screens are constructed with gaps to let the wind pass through to help to avoid such damage in the future.

Some of the world’s most famous cricketers will return on Friday June 6, in what is becoming a firm fixture in the club’s calendar. This year the Lashings All Stars squad will include the likes of Gordon Greenidge, Sulimen Benn, Graeme Swann, Matthew Hoggard, Darren Maddy, Courtney Walsh and Niall O’Brien, amongst others can book a space in the hospitality marquee and dine with the Lashings players, enjoy pre-match entertainment and watch the match with a private bar and viewing area. Public spectators can watch the match for free, with fundraising collections and raffles taking place throughout the game.

The club also continues to explore options to help secure its future, including the possibility of relocation nearby.

Club chairman Mike Richmond said: “The club is loved by players, families and the community. Above all, we want to keep it going in the future, which is why we are looking at the possibility of relocation and exploring other options to make the club more financially viable.

“Whatever final decision the club’s members make on a move, the club will remain in its current location for at least the next three years and it’s important that it continues to be supported during this time. You can do this by hiring the venue for functions, buying sponsorship and most importantly, supporting our teams on their match days.”

Details on fixtures, sponsorship, venue hire and the Lashings All Stars game can be found at www.downendcricket.co.uk or call 01179 560164. 

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