Former England captain Mike Gatting is urging the community to lend a helping hand at Harrow St Mary’s 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 Harrow St Mary’s 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 grounds ahead of the new season.
Harrow St Mary’s will be among that number a week later on April 12 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.
“Harrow St Mary’s is a big ground with lots of space that people have taken on and I remember re-doing the whole pavilion,” he said.
“We were getting this bar out from the top end of the pavilion and out through a double bay window and lowered it with ropes trying not to kill ourselves or anyone else below.
“Everybody was in the pavilion painting and decorating, building and doing everything up. There were scoreboards being painted and the groundsman’s shed was being renovated as well.
“It was a very mixed community club and everyone was taking responsibility to renovate the club and help out. It was a huge effort by everyone.”
And with severe storms having battered England during the winter, Gatting is adamant this year’s NatWest CricketForce is more important than ever.
“It is wonderful news that a record-breaking number of clubs have already registered to hold a NatWest CricketForce event,” Gatting added.
“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 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