How many teams do you think are active at Blythe Cricket Club, which is the club based here in Draycott? Two? Three?
Well, it’s a lot more than that: you can work upwards from ten at least!
And, this is a club with ambition – as this year, they intend to start making even more moves to improving and extending its facilities, and to working more with the surounding community – ie, you and me.
And it needs your help.
It is amazing how much the club has come on in the last few years, even after some bad knocks.
A couple of years ago, when the league they play in, the North Staffs & South Cheshire League, became an ‘open’ league (i.e., clubs could start to pay all their players if they wanted to), many of Blythe’s young players were immediately poached. The club simply wasn’t in a position to pay all its players.
And last year, the first team only just avoided relegation from Division One of the league.
It’s been tough.
Yet, the same period saw the club’s ground (which is in Cresswell, at the top of the bank near the the Izaak Walton pub) get more and more use.
At the far end, where there was once just a tip for pottery, a small cricket pitch for use by the under-11s teams has been installed; and even a football pitch, for Lads & Dads teams, has also been created.
The club now completely owns the ground, which they bought off Johnson Matthey (the owners of the old colour works) in 1995 for £30,000. The members used some grants they received as well as their own fund-raising to make some £70,000 of improvements.
Of course, there is lots still to be done: the car-park, full of pot-holes, leaves a lot to be desired (!), and the pavilion is beginning to show its age.
Which is why, this year, there is a fresh drive to acquire lottery funding and really bring the whole site up to scratch.
Colin Dawson, the club’s president, is leading the charge: “The pavilion is really on its last legs. It’s over eighty years old, is just a single-skin building, so it can’t be used at all for six months of the year. It’s just too cold.
”But we want a new building, one that can be a year-round facility, a sort of community centre, where everyone can have get-togethers, or even just a quiet drink now and again.”
At the moment, members of the community are welcome to come along on the nights when the pavilion bar is open (see Things To Do in Draycott), but generally, that is only one or two nights a week at the moment.
So… how can the people of Draycott in the Moors and Cresswell help?
Colin explains: “To get funding, we need to carry out a survey of what people in this area would like and need. If there’s anyone with any ideas, we’d love to hear from them!
“Already we are talking to the parents of the children who come along to the coaching sessions on Friday evenings, but we want to hear from everyone, not just people interested in cricket.”
So – there’s the challenge.
Would you like to see the club create more opportunities for leisure in this area, both for youngsters and adults? Would you like to see a new, year-round community-style building on the ground?
If you do, why not go over one Saturday afternoon and say hello? Or – email Blythe Cricket Club to say you’d like to help.
(By the way, if you want to know the exact number of teams active at the club, it’s thirteen – which includes the First and Second Teams, the ladies’ teams, and the young people’s teams).