THERE have been changes aplenty at Morpeth Cricket Club over the winter, which members hope will benefit it in the long-term.
The senior teams had to deal with the loss of a number of the first-team players and are now preparing to play in the Northumberland and Tyneside Senior Cricket League Divisions A2 and B2 – having stepped down a league each in the wake of the loss of such a number of players.
However, thanks to the work of the three new captains (First XI: Charles Anderson, Second XI: Stephen Parsons and Third XI: Adam Lawn) there has been a very successful period of indoor nets.
A new senior section committee with representatives from the players, captains, coaches and the junior section has been formed to reflect the new whole club ethos at Morpeth and the volunteers have been working hard all winter in preparation for the start of the coming summer season.
The winter has also seen a number of changes within the structure and format of the club. The main difference for the coming season is the change in ground at Longhirst Hall, as all the senior section teams will now use the same pitch facility as the juniors for all of their matches.
The switch in ground to use the Club House facilities will help the club maintain a better structure and show the junior players a clear pathway into the senior section.
Mr Parsons, who is also a coach in the junior section, said: “The financial implications of sustaining the two pitches would have caused more difficulties for the club in the long run.
“There is a very dedicated team of around 12 volunteers from the juniors and seniors, who have done some amazing work over the past five weeks to put in some new drainage, create a junior pitch and move score boxes, covers and equipment.
“I cannot wait to be able to finally play on the new pitches and benefit from all the hard work that has been done.”
As well as the development of the senior section and the facilities at Longhirst as part of the NatWest Cricket Force weekend, the junior section of the club continues to grow and thrive, with 45-50 young members attending the winter training sessions.
There are now six junior sides across the under 9s, under 11s, under 13s and under 15s as well as a competitive girls side. The outdoor training sessions for the juniors started this past weekend, with 45 youngsters enjoying the sunshine and the two-hour session at Longhirst.
The club volunteers also came together on Good Friday to fund-raise at the Morrisons supermarket in Morpeth by bag packing for customers. They raised a fantastic £950 thanks to the customers in store.
Of the developments over the winter, club chairman Rod Rogers said: “The new structure at Morpeth Cricket Club has been grasped enthusiastically by many players and volunteers.
“The organisation and voluntary work over the winter has been incredible and I will be extremely proud to witness cricketers and members of all ages practicing, playing and watching as the 2013 season commences in the coming weeks.
“My thanks goes to those who have put so many hours into our re-development, the future of the club will be their reward.”
The junior training will run every Saturday between now and the beginning of September from 10am at Longhirst Hall, with the senior training on a Tuesday night between 6pm and 8pm.
For more information about Morpeth Cricket Club and playing, contact Mr Rogers via email – firstname.lastname@example.org
• The club’s First XI are away to Whickham in their season opener on Saturday. The Second XI are taking on Tynedale II at Longhirst. The match starts at 1.30pm.