On Sunday 21st we had the finals of the ECB Under 17 Royal London one day competition for counties and on Wednesday/Thursday of this week we hosted the equivalent for the Under 15 age group.
Despite some real challenges from the weather we managed to get in three days of cricket which resulted in victory for Sussex in the Under 15 competition and in the Under 17 games Surrey won the A and Oxfordshire the B Division trophies.
The top ground was fully branded with Royal London pitch and boundary markers and as an ex County Player remarked “it looked just like a top class county ground”. The events bring the club a significant amount of revenue and thanks to the efforts of a host of volunteers much of this finds it way in to our bank account. The catering team do a brilliant job in the kitchen, feeding circa 80 boys and coaches in quick time with three courses of delicious food.
This year proved a particular challenge for the ground team with heavy overnight rain expected, and received, on Wednesday night. The team finished pegging down the covers and sheets at circa 9pm Wednesday after 4 hours solid work, They were back at 7am the next day to take them off but with the added challenge of a heavy covering of rain water to shift. It should be noted that both games were started on time at 10.45 while the game down the road at Fischer County Ground (with just one pitch) had a delayed start!! However the real challenge came at around lunchtime when even more rain was forecast. Our Chairman Steve Ellwood comments “at 1.30pm rain was in the air and we looked a little short handed to deal with the logistical challenge that we knew was coming. Then as if by magic Steve Tommo arrived from his home in Rugby saying that he had seen the forecast, John Sewell walked back to the ground and PJ and a handful of Under 15 players (too many to name) stepped forward. With coordination from late night and early morning groundsman Steve Pollard both pitches were completely covered in 20 mins or so of frenetic activity. As soon as the rain stopped the team was back at it and the covers were off, pitches rolled and marked and both games underway within half an hour. A very special effort that makes you proud to be part of a very special club”
Or as Jason Britton Development Director of Staffordshire Cricket said in an email to the club
‘Just a quick note of thanks and appreciation for the club’s support over the last couple of days at the Royal London u15s finals. You have some fantastic facilities, but they are only bricks and mortar and clubs are built around great people; you clearly have them in abundance. Please pass on Staffordshire Cricket’s thanks to all involved ‘