Cricket in Swanage is undergoing rapid expansion, driven in large part by growth in the club’s junior section.
Now the club, which plays at Days Park, needs more space to accommodate them all. It’s waiting on a grant application before embarking on ambitious plans to extend the pavilion.
Swanage Cricket Club already has planning permission to develop the changing room facilities, needed to accommodate a new third team and the women’s team.
Permission was granted a couple of years ago but the club is waiting on a funding decision from the English Cricket Board. It’s looking for £60,000 towards a total cost of £150,000.
Junior cricket at Swanage has expanded rapidly
Tim Ives, head of youth cricket, said:
“It’s a club that’s still building. We’ve seen significant growth over the last five or six years, particularly in the junior section.”
The club now regularly puts out three teams on a Saturday and has increased its junior members (under 18s) to 130. The second team now comprises up to half juniors.
“That’s really the strength of the club. It’s an exciting time as these players are starting to come through and play adult cricket.”
One of those youngsters is 13-year-old James. He recently scored 29 in an adult league game against Winton for the third team, achieving a partnership of 90 runs. An all-rounder, he also took three wickets.
James, one of the up-and-coming young players, in action
“Might have won if he’d stayed on”
Tim Ives added:
“It could easily have been more but the younger players are only allowed to bowl a certain number of overs. I think we might have won if he had stayed on!”
There’s also a thriving women’s section, though this season they have had to contend with the bad weather stopping play on more than one occasion.
As a strategy going forward, the club has decided to concentrate on building the local game in the town rather than push players through to play at county level.
That has included putting a cricket square on the field behind the pavilion for the new third team, a project driven mainly by the efforts of father and son team Craig and Sam Wells who have prepared and maintained the ground.
Steve Kent and Mike Nash celebrate scoring 98 and taking five wickets
Cricket came out “rather well”
Tim Ives said:
“Cricket came out of last year rather well compared with other sports because it’s played during the summer when numbers of Covid cases were very low and things opened up.
“The increase in numbers playing junior cricket is part of a big move we’re seeing where children, having been cooped up for so long, are eager to get out and to take the opportunity to get involved in sport.”
Plans are afoot to extend the pavilion
The club already boasts a popular clubhouse, with a bar and decking outside. It’s a facility shared with the local croquet club.
“It’s a nice place on a summer’s day to watch the cricket and have a drink with friends.”
Women’s cricket is thriving
More about Swanage Cricket Club is on its website