Formed in circa 1860, Brightlingsea Cricket Club is one of the oldest sports clubs in the town and we play on Bayard Recreation Ground in Brightlingsea. We play most Saturdays and Sundays, either home or away and enjoy the environment with the local pub team ‘The Railway Tavern’. We have an established Youth section consisting of Kwik (softball) and Colts (hardball) teams and are looking to extend and rebuild this part of the club as it recovers from COVID restrictions.
In 2021 we will have two senior teams playing, one in the Two Counties League and one in the new North Essex Cricket League 30 overs a side competition. We will also have an U11s and U13s hard ball team as well as running our Kwik Cricket programme for primary school children.
We have secured a pledge from Sport England whereby for every £6 we raise (up to a maximum of £6,000) they will give us an additional £4. However, if we fail to raise £6,000, we will get nothing from Sport England. This means that any contribution you are able to make has a huge impact on what we can achieve through our project.
We need to carry out essential repairs to our all-weather playing strip and outdoor nets facility - crucial to the quality and safety of our provision. The full cost of these is well beyond our current financial position and so that is what we need your help with. Without the repairs, we risk these key facilities becoming unsafe and unusable, hugely affecting what we can offer our young players.
- The nets facility is now 10 years old and has been seriously affected by weed damage, the impact of heavy usage, as well as the layout not fitting with changes to pitch lengths for our youngest players.
- The artificial strip has 'sunk' below the level of the rest of the square making it a trip hazard as well as affecting the flight of balls hit along the ground.
In recent years, the journey of the club has been a rollercoaster. Like many cricket clubs, the number of teams that we run has reduced significantly, from 3 teams to 1 team in the last few years. However, there is now great momentum to secure and regenerate our club for the next generation to enjoy the game. With your help, crowdfunding will support the club for cricketers in the future. We want to invest in our community, promote the sport, both as a competitive or recreational activity and additionally realise the mental health benefits, the importance of which we have all come to appreciate.
2020 COVID year was a challenging for many people in many ways. We know that we are not the only organisation or group who have experienced the implications of losing essential revenue to fund our work. Not only did we lose membership, match fees and bar takings from significantly reduced matches played during 2020 but we also lost essential income from major annual events in our calendar, such the town carnival, our Kwik Cricket Festival and the end of season Family and Awards Day. As a small club, this has put real pressure on our income, however, costs remain the same and facilities continue to require maintenance.
Whilst 2020 was a difficult time for the club financially, it was an opportunity to regroup and make plans to regenerate our club. We welcomed back past players and said hello to new players who moved into the area. Due to a steady growth in players in 2020, we are now in the position for 2021 to expand our teams from one to two teams, based on the young players that we have developed through the club in recent years. This will give more people an opportunity to play in different formats of the game and attracting players back to the sport and new players to get involved.
During 2020 members have given their time to address some pressing renovation of the club facilities. Repairing and revamping the toilet facilities, repairing the netting of the cricket nets, working in the background to relaunch our website and planning for an eventual new clubhouse. However, we now have the essential repairs to do to the strip and nets that will involve purchasing materials and employing contractors to do the works.
Our work with Brightlingsea Primary School and Nursery over the past few years has generated many players, some of whom have since played at District and Essex level. COVID has put a brake on this work, however, we are really keen to get back into schools to bring the love of cricket to new audiences. We recognise that youth players are the future of the club and want to rebuild membership numbers back to at least pre-COVID times.
Due to COVID measures, our group sizes will be small and social distancing protocols mean that our artificial strip and cricket nets will be used even more for training so that we can keep groups separate. Ideally, we also want to purchase a portable net so that we can maintain small coaching groups/bubbles. This will allow us to keep the same number of children overall, but separate the groups to allow for infection control measures to be in place.
If this has got you thinking about possibly playing some Cricket then please do get in touch. We welcome people of all ages (current range in our membership is 5 to 75!) and abilities. We are a friendly, family-focused club that looks to get people playing with a smile on their face.