A long-awaited grant of £50,000 from the English Cricket Board has been awarded to Swanage Cricket Club, meaning it can now continue at pace with a scheme to extend the pavilion.
It’s part of ambitious plans for the future of the club, which has seen rapid expansion in members, particularly among the junior section.
Tim Ives, club treasurer, said:
“Everybody is very excited – we would have liked it to have been earlier in the season – but we are now able to move forward.”
Chairman Craig Wells examines the plans for the new pavilion
“We were ready to go”
Planning permission has already been granted and initial discussions with building inspectors meant the plans were already taking shape when Covid happened and knocked the whole scheme into the long grass.
“We were ready to go – we had quotes and everything – and we were just waiting on this grant and then something dramatic happened and everything stopped. It was quite frustrating.”
The improved pavilion is seen as the next stage of development for Swanage cricket
The club already has a grant of £50,000 from Sport England which, added to bequests and savings, means it has the £140,000 to £150,000 needed to complete the project.
Club chairman, Craig Wells, said:
“It’s an exciting time for the club to have such a big project as this going on. It reflects the huge growth we’ve seen over the last few years and we are very much looking forward to the future.”
The first team at the end of the 2021 season
The club’s first team secured runners up position this year in the Dorset division one, with seven victories in their last seven matches.
As well as the first and second teams, the club has had a thriving women’s team for the last few years and now runs a third team, bolstered by the strong presence of up-and-coming young players.
The Juniors are now up to 135 members, from a historical figure of around just 30.
The growth of junior cricket has been a major feature of the club’s success
Improvements for croquet too
The planned development will extend one side of the pavilion and increase the number of changing rooms.
There will be more facilities for women and a proper changing room for umpires, plus extra storage.
The grounds are shared by Swanage Croquet Club. Up until now it had ‘part of a small room’ for its equipment, but with the new development the club will get its own separate storage space.
Swanage croquet club, which shares the grounds, will get improved storage space
“Pavilion extension is next step forward”
Tim is confident the new extension will make a big difference to players and visitors and enhance the standing of Swanage cricket.
“As a club we are becoming a lot bigger and the pavilion extension is the next step forward to getting us established as a much more significant club that’s self-sustaining.”
Craig Wells, right, picks up the award for best century in 2021