England Test players Matthew Hoggard and Jimmy Anderson visited Saltaire for CricketForce in 2009
With just under one month to go until the 13th annual NatWest CricketForce weekend, a record breaking 2,014 cricket clubs have already registered to take part in the three-day event, which will see facilities rejuvenated and prepared across the country for the forthcoming season.
That total includes 16 of the 25 JCT600 Bradford League clubs, Baildon, Bradford & Bingley, Cleckheaton, East Bierley, Farsley, Gomersal, Great Horton, Hartshead Moor, Keighley, Lightcliffe, Morley, New Farnley, Pudsey Congs, Pudsey St Lawrence, Saltaire and Yeadon.
From Friday April 4 to Sunday April 6, tens of thousands of club members and volunteers will come together to clean, tidy, repair and revitalise clubhouses and cricket grounds before the season gets underway. In addition to bringing players, members and the community together, the 2014 NatWest CricketForce programme will result in several million pounds worth of time and resource being invested into clubs.
Commenting on the countdown to NatWest CricketForce, ECB Chief Executive, David Collier, said:
“For more than 2000 clubs to have already signed up to NatWest CricketForce, with one month still to go before the event, is a superb achievement.
"NatWest CricketForce continues to grow every year, and it is fantastic to see that clubs clearly value the initiative as a way to make sure that they start the season on the front foot. In addition to benefitting from the work and generosity of volunteers, by registering for NatWest CricketForce clubs can access exclusive discounts on a range of cricket and ground equipment through ECB partnerships with multiple key suppliers. It really is the perfect platform from which to start the summer"
Former England captain and ECB's Managing Director of Cricket Partnerships, Mike Gatting, added: “It is wonderful news that a record-breaking number of clubs have already registered to hold a NatWest CricketForce event, and with one month to go until the big day, there is still time for those who haven'’t yet signed-up to get involved.
"Since NWCF started in 2002, thousands of cricket clubs up and down the country have seen their fortunes turned around because of the long term impact that the programme has had. Not only is it a great way to get lots of jobs done and raise spirits before the season starts, it’s also a proven way to recruit new members and volunteers into the club, along with building strong relationships with local businesses and the wider community.
"In particular, the challenges presented by the nationwide floods at the start of this year, means that the 2014 NatWest CricketForce effort is more important than ever before. Cricket clubs across the country represent the lifeblood of the sport, and it is hugely important that we all pull together and look after playing facilities.”
Martyn Wilson, Senior Sponsorship Manager at NatWest, said: “We’ve been championing NatWest CricketForce for thirteen years and it is wonderful to see how much it has grown over the years and how many clubs have been able to benefit from it.
"NatWest CricketForce supports clubs that survive on limited funding and every year more and more volunteers, local businesses and NatWest staff give up their time to help out their local cricket club for the benefit of the wider community.
"This year we've given clubs even more reason to sign up by offering three NatWest CricketForce 2014 registered clubs our NatWest Famous Fridays package, which includes a free12 month subscription to Sky Sports. The three winning clubs will also have an ex-England cricket legend come to their clubhouse one Friday night to watch a NatWest T20 Blast match."
Club can still enter for NatWest CricketForce by going to: www.ecb.co.uk/natwestcricketforce
For further information on NatWest Famous Fridays please visit www.natwest.com/cricket