Natwest Cricket Force 2008
No such thing as a free lunch... can we turn a dream into reality
Farsley Cricket Club, better known as the home of the Rams, full of enthusiastic cricket players, members and supporters on a cold, wet January evening - you've got to be joking?
Six weeks ago I certainly would never have believed it - this time last year we would have been lucky to have had a hardy band of locals sampling a few half's of mild and mumbling about how disappointing our performances were last summer!
NatWest Cricket Force has changed that - true there are still a few cynics but the mood around the club has changed - it is positive and energetic, as people start to realise we have a golden opportunity to improve our present lot and leave the club and its facilities far more appealing for the future.
Twenty minutes presentation from the master orator Dave Leighton himself and the Red Lane faithful were not just sold on the idea and potential, they were inspired and re-invigorated.
Everyone at the Club knew we were at a crossroads - traditionally we had always been one of the Bradford League's leading sides, with a strong junior section and a development plan that had encouraged the progression of younger players - many of whom had gone on to play First Class and even International cricket. But now the Club and facilities were at best tired - when Dave Leighton asked what jobs may need doing? One wag quipped it would be easier to ask what does n't?
True reality says we need a new roof (I don't think it was ever anyone's intention that the best place to shower was in the entrance to the club when it was raining!), the clubhouse and bar need redecorating, including new windows and doors and a heating system that works, the changing and shower rooms upgrading, the kitchen tiling, the exterior walls painting and the artificial pitch and nets repairing. The list goes on...
Pipe-dreams or reality, as Dave explained - it's in our own hands. Over the last fortnight with faces that have not been seen for years re-appearing, we've had three further meetings to focus our efforts and appoint project managers and teams. We've got MP's and councillors on board and had plans drawn up for a new roof. Letters have gone out to over 50 local companies and are already been followed up with calls. We've had some set backs but also importantly a few early successes.
We are not daft and we know there is no such thing as a free lunch - with the ECB's and Natwest's help, guidance and support, we have enthusiasm and commitment to rally the members and local community to give us every chance of success.
Finally, as I think I have rambled on enough I was told a few years ago you learn something new everyday - well what have I learned today....standard size bricks are not always the standard correct size!
How do I know that - I'm no "brickie" but our clubhouse was apparently built with bricks that are 1/3 smaller in size than they should be! Should n't be a problem you may think but it has been somewhat confusing when our modern day architect was re-drawing the building using standard metric measures for bricks.
Strangely he had never come across bricks of a similar size! I wonder when the building was originally built nearly 40 years ago, where did these bricks come from?
As our adventure begins, I will keep you posted - catch up again soon.
We've started so we best finish...
What a six weeks - time has literally flown by but the good news from Red Lane is that we are progressing positively and moving forward I think on schedule? The dream remains not just well and truly alive but increasingly a reality.
As I write this update we are just over a week off "D-Day" and it is still all systems go. No one is resting on their laurels - we have had a fantastic response from the community, local business and supporters but we all know we are at the beginning of the challenge and there is a mountain still to climb.
Best of all since our last blog, we haven't discovered any new holes in the roof, although the recent snow did n't help our efforts to keep the inside of the club dry!
Well where are we at? Let's start at the top - plans have been drawn up for a new pitched roof and submitted to the Council for approval. But that has not meant we have stood still - a keen group of volunteers have knocked down several interior walls and re-bricked and lintels added to provide much needed strength to hold the new roof. Cosmetically new ceiling tiles and re-plastering projects are complete. Thanks must go to our own Arthur Daily, although at times he looks more like Claude Greengrass alias David Sharp and Andy Higgins for their negotiating skills and the following companies for their support - Stocks Blocks, Local Building Supplies, Howdens Joinery, Farmac, CPD, Burmatex and BKM Carpets.
A new carpet has also been promised by Mercado for the lounge and entrance to the club, which is a relief to all as we can now ditch the existing and very dodgy pink pattern. No truth in the rumour the same design can be found in a previous Chairman's bedroom!
The kitchen has been completely re-decorated including new units, re-tiling and painting - excellent news is that this is now completed and ready to be in action for the start of the season. Much thanks to Keencost Kitchens for the units and Richard Whittaker and his company Verona Tiles for their efforts and support.
Richard's skills have also been on display in the changing area, as his company has also provided the materials and labour for re-tiling the showers, toilets and most importantly the bar.
Visiting teams as well as our home players should also be in for a pleasant surprise this season as we have completely renovated the changing rooms. Everything existing has been ripped out, redecorated, and hopefully will provide a warm welcome for all. Looking at the plans, I do worry overall it may end up being a little too cosy and encourage our batsmen to spend more time inside than in the middle! Personally however, I am delighted to be waiting delivery of the leather sofa for my corner (I wish...)
A special thanks at this stage to Dulux for their kind donation of paint - some of it already used internally and although we have n't uncovered any budding Picasso's, we have been quietly inspired.
Externally work has progressed well - despite the horrendous weather at times. Under the watchful eye of Rob Lumb, preparation of external walls is now complete - we have even re-built one stone wall. The good news is that the walls are now ready to be painted white - a nice job for April 6th! Same for the site screens.
Robert Thornton (Dave to friends) - our opening bowler along with resident builders Peter (I do not drink!) Scott and Richard (I will do that) Marrion have built a new main drainage area and new drainage channels to accommodate the new roof.
Finally the existing grass collection site or eye-sore was removed and the original wall re-built, which frees up much needed space in the car park.
We have also spoken to our local MP, Paul Trusswell and the Leader of Leeds City Council, Andrew Carter. Both were delighted to help and promised to front up on the day, whilst Andrew is already doing his bit providing free skips - we have used two and in desperate need of a third.
On the same day, we visited the Leeds College of Building, who again reacted very positively - they have promised to help with the roof and the building of the new scoreboard, as well as signage for sponsors.
I must not forget Greenfield Bacon company, who have just come up trumps along with Yorkshire Tea, Richmond Foods and Farm foods, who through their kind generosity will ensure all volunteers will be fed on the 6th. Also thanks to Coors and our Clark's Brewery for their support.
Crucial areas however are still outstanding but we remain hopeful and determined to find positive results. We are currently awaiting confirmation for new windows and doors - we have a verbal agreement from Connaught Baldwin, who are a local firm to supply these free! What a coup that would be!
We are also awaiting final confirmation on the supply of roof trusses from local supplier Shires
As regards the new heating system, including boiler, radiators and pipe work, we have met Morfitt's and are now awaiting confirmation of their support to supply the necessary parts.
The media buzz has been quite interesting - Nick (Scoop) Higgins has been particularly active, ensuring our President Raymond Illingworth was interviewed by Jonathan Agnew on Test Match special and articles have appeared in the Yorkshire Evening Post, Pudsey News, Pudsey Advertiser, this is Farsley website, the Bradford League website and mentions on the local radio stations.
I think that covers everything - although I am sure I will have missed something!! Oh yes I remember the cricket season is just round the corner...
Look forward to catching up again soon
Farsley one month down the line...
The cricket season may have started across the UK, but with the current weather it still feels like winter at downtown Red Lane!
It is cold, extremely wet and if I am to be honest, with all the renovations going on a little bit of a muddy mess - more like the local paddock than Lords I am afraid.
At times during the last fortnight I didn't think we would ever be in a position to start the season - with an hour to go before the players arrived for the last week's season opener, we were still laying floor tiles in the changing rooms and re-connecting pipe work in to the shower area.
For the last month since the "unbelievable" cricket force day (check out our video on the ECB web site), we have been living on adrenalin and the belief "it will be alright on the night." Well to be fair to our army of tireless volunteers, it was just!
As I write, the good news is that we got the ground and clubhouse fit for the start of the season and the even better news was that we have won all 4 of our matches so far - 3 senior teams and the under 17's all being successful. Long may it continue...
Well what have we got up to since my last blog?
The cricket force day attracted nearly 300 people and undoubtedly the star of the show was ex-England captain Mike Gatting. In true style not only did "Gat" eat us out of house and home but he worked like a Trojan through all the vagaries of the English climate. Volunteering to assemble what appeared to be a mechano set for adults, he claimed that with a team of 6, he could assemble a new cage for our nets in under an hour.
Six hours later and even when faced with heavy snow, he refused to come in until he had completed his task. The cage was eventually assembled and "Gat" and his team retired to the bar to sample the Tetley's and admire their handy work. He will be delighted to know the nets are still standing but only because we took the cage to bits and re-built it - this time utilising all the parts!
As regards the overall day, many thanks to Stuart Regan, Adil Rashid, Anthony McGrath and Mark Lawson from Yorkshire CCC, Katherine Brunt and Sarah Taylor from the successful England's women's side, our local MP's and councillors, as well as the troop from Nat West and the army of other local volunteers who were brilliant throughout the day. It was a day that will certainly go down in the memory of the Farsley faithful and one which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
The Ramdome continues to change and work has not stopped. Further walls and patios have been built and painting completed, whilst strengthening of the clubhouse has continued as we prepare for our biggest challenge yet - the new pitched roof.
Planning permission is now through and a meeting of the war committee has been called to plan the next and biggest stage of our project.
More windows and doors from Connaught Baldwin, the scaffolding from APB Limited and the trusses from Shires are all due any day now, which again is exciting, although I wonder how we can maintain enthusiasm to see us across the finishing line? Which reminds me another huge thank you for all those companies that have supported us, see the Roll of Honour
So where are we on the master plan? Oh the roof, then internal decorations and also I'm sure we said we would have a new electronic scoreboard all before the end of the summer!
The old adage "there's no rest for the wicked" springs to mind - although I can not recall any of our team running over too many black cats!
Naturally I will keep you posted as to our progress - overall I firmly believe we are still on schedule to complete our overhaul by on schedule and on budget.
Roll of Honour
- APB Scaffolding
- BKM Carpet Centre Ltd
- Burmatex Ltd
- B W Skips
- CPD Distribution
- Councillor - Andrew Carter
- Councillor - Frank Robinson
- Crown Decorator Centre
- Daktroniks Uk Ltd
- Dulux Decorator Centres
- Farmac Timber & Building Supplies
- Getty Images
- Greenfield Bacon Ltd
- Howden Joinery
- Katherine Brunt
- Keencost Kichens
- Leeds City Council
- Leeds College of Building
- Leeds College of Building
- Local Building Supplies
- Morfitts Building Services
- Mr Mike Gatting
- Mr Paul Trusswell MP
- Mr Stuart Reagan
- Philip Guest Esq
- Pro Plumb
- Quay Plastics
- Romana Tiles
- Mr & Mrs D Sharp
- S. K. Storr
- Sarah Taylor
- Shires Timber Group
- St John Ambulance
- Stocks Blocks
- Taylors Of Harrogate
- W. Madden
- Watershed (Roofing) Ltd
- Wickes Building Supplies Ltd
- Wolseleys - Build Centre
- Yorkshire County Cricket Club
- All the Members of Farsley Cricket Club