All local cricket clubs have a small minority of dedicated helpers who are always on hand, week after week during the season, to ensure that their club keep afloat in what are challenging times for most clubs up and down the country.
During the winter clubs will build up a long list of 'to do' jobs that they wish to be completed by the start of the following season. Previously these jobs would get left or only partially completed due to either a lack of funds or a lack of volunteers.
However, since 2002, NatWest CricketForce has ensured that one weekend each year is set
aside for all club members and members of the local community to become involved starting and completing these exact jobs prior to the start of a season.
Jobs can, and do, range in size and difficulty. Not every club is the same and they all have their own priorities but it is safe to say every club needs improving in one way or another. Some clubs just simply need a new lick of paint or a good spring clean whilst others set themselves more lofty ambitions by building new scoreboards, erecting fencing or even building a brand new pavilion.
Whatever the project may be NatWest CricketForce weekend is designed to be the
weekend when it all takes place.
This season's NatWest CricketForce takes place this weekend, the 5th and 6th of April. A record number of clubs are expected to be involved with over 85,000 people helping across the length and breadth of the country. This cricket programme alone invests between £35m and £40m each year into our beloved clubs. It does so by creating partnerships between the clubs, communities, businesses, media, Local Authorities and the Government.
Even England cricketers become involved on the weekend itself, lending a hand to their local clubs or even the clubs where they started their careers at. After all the successful cricketers who are playing for England started their careers in club cricket at some point and have clubs to thank for developing them into the players they are today.
The initiative has received a huge amount of praise since it's inception in 2002 and all the clubs involved will agree that it starts off the new season in a positive frame of mind for all those who take part. Let's just hope the sun shines for all the participants this weekend and continues to do so throughout the summer.
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