With the cricket season getting underway, many cricket clubs have already begun their preparations for the season. Many have been heavily impacted by Covid-19 and that has affected their preparations for the season ahead.
Walkden Cricket Club was founded in 1899 and is a member of the BCL and West Lancashire league.
Nathan Rushton, head coach, and first team captain said: “What we’ve done is used this year as a bit of a reset button. We’ve gained three new sponsorships and we’ve used the money to buy junior and senior training equipment.”
The sponsorships have not stopped with training equipment. The club has even gained sponsorships that will allow them to increase their outdoor seating in line with the current COVID regulations.
“We have a sponsorship with the garden centre, where we got outside seating. This means we can now offer outdoor seating with the new restrictions.”
Despite the financial pressure that COVID has put the club under, Nathan Rushton said: “The club is probably in the best shape it’s been in for a long time, from a visual point of view.”
The Community Spirit around the club
There is a massive sense of community at the cricket club, all the way from junior to senior level. They have a large range of age ranges, starting at under nine’s, to under elevens, under 13’s, under 18’s and a first, second and third team at senior level. The sponsorships they have gained will have a huge impact on the junior age groups.
“Our junior set up would struggle to run without sponsors. We have a lot of kids who come from all different backgrounds, some can’t afford playing kit or to train. Through the sponsors we can give the kids in the local area a real positive experience.”
A big aim of the club is steering their juniors in the right direction.
“I personally think cricket in Walkden is thriving because it’s something for the kids to do. Instead of being bored at home we can go and play cricket.”
The sense of community is not just in the players, they have almost 500 members in total from the surrounding community. They have a partnership with North Walkden football club which draws more members in.
“The community has definitely come closer over the past year, there’s a lot more togetherness. We had a working party on Good Friday, and we had over 30 people turned up and in recent years we’ve had seven, eight, nine people turn up.”
Although at first team level, they have elite paid players who keep the performances of the first team to the expected high standard, this is not the case throughout the club. The second and third team, as well as the juniors, play a huge part in the community element.
🚨CRICKET IS BACK🚨
🏏10/04 sees the 1/2nd XI play @WorsleyCC
🏏11/04 sees the 2/3rd XI (A) play @WorsleyCC
😷players are reminded to read & follow the latest guidelines.
❌Unfortunately no spectators this weekend
🥶Bring a few layers pic.twitter.com/o3PnAp3Bnz
— Walkden Cricket Club (@WalkdenOfficial) April 10, 2021
As the season begins, the club is putting on plenty of events to get people involved and through their doors.
“This Saturday the 17th, we’re doing a club day. We want to be part of the community, part of the bigger picture. We have the biggest beer garden in Walkden, it can hold up to 100 seats.
“If on Saturday we have 100 people turn up, they may not be regulars of the club, but they could be potential future members. People don’t have to turn up every week but if people came once a month it would help us out.”
The financial strain that they have been put under throughout COVID won’t stop the club from giving their locals the cheapest pint in Walkden!
“We’re doing pints and drinks for £2. We just want to get a bit of cash flow coming in so we can offer a better service. At the minute our service is going to be a bit limited for drinks and hospitality. When we’re playing again in May we want to give a bigger and better service.”
If you’re interested in experiencing all that Walkden Cricket Club has to offer, head down to the club on Saturday from midday onwards. They have a large age range from juniors to adults if you want to get involved in playing.
Address: Harriet St, Walkden, Worsley, Manchester M28 3QA