Former England captain Mike Gatting is urging the local community to lend a helping hand at Copley Cricket Club next month – insisting he loved every minute of his time spent there.
Next month will see the 13th annual NatWest CricketForce take place with Copley one of a record-breaking 2,014 clubs registered to participate in the three-day event.
From Friday April 4 to Sunday April 6, thousands will come together to clean, tidy, repair and revitalise clubhouses and cricket grounds ahead of the new season.
Copley will be among that number on April 5 and a year after being graced by the presence of Gatting as he rolled his sleeves up and got stuck into the work needed.
And Gatting, who played 79 Tests and 92 ODIs for England and is now the ECB’s Managing Director of Cricket Partnerships, admits he couldn’t recommend it highly enough.
“I remember working quite hard laying the patio out the front of the pavilion with the local builder and we got it all done in about half a day,” said Gatting.
“Then we finished off a storage shed at the side of the pavilion. It was wonderful to finish off all of the things that needed doing.
“The mayor turned up and a few councillors and I think they got a couple of new sponsors on the day. This is what’s great about the day.
“You don’t just get new people who didn’t know where the place was and didn’t realise that it was so nice. They certainly got ten or 12 new playing members from the day and 20 or so new kids.
“Sadly they were one of the grounds who copped the brunt of the floods that year as it’s down in the dip and it got over the patio and into the storage room.
“We saw some horrible pictures of the new pavilion flooded. I’m pleased to report it’s up and running again.”
NatWest CricketForce is an ECB project helping cricket clubs renovate and improve their facilities before each season with the help of members and their wider communities. Find out when your local club event is (4-6 April), and lend a hand at ecb.co.uk/nwcf