Former England captain Mike Gatting urges community to support Whichmore Hill Cricket Club during the NatWest CricketForce event

Picture: Action Images

Picture: Action Images

First published in Sport

Former England captain Mike Gatting is urging the local community to lend a helping hand at Winchmore Hill Cricket Club next month – insisting he loved every minute of his time spent there.

Next month will see the 13th annual NatWest CricketForce take place with Winchmore Hill one of a record-breaking 2,014 clubs registered to participate in the three-day event.

From Friday April 4 to Sunday April 6, thousands will come together to clean, tidy, repair and revitalise clubhouses and cricket grounds ahead of the new season.

Winchmore Hill will be among that number on April 5 and a year after being graced by the presence of Gatting as he rolled his sleeves up and got stuck into the work needed.

And Gatting, who played 79 Tests and 92 ODIs for England and is now the ECB’s Managing Director of Cricket Partnerships, admits he couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

“Winchmore Hill is a big club with a big tennis section and they play football there in the winter but sadly the clubhouse is always in need of running repairs,” he said.

“There are lots of good youngsters there but they could do with a bit more help at the club to make it a better place.

“It has huge potential to be something better than it is at the moment and I’m sure some of the people in the club want to take it that way.

“You could see the wonderful community spirit there, turning the place into something that would be beneficial to a community.

“The passion shown by the people who originally got the club running was well rewarded by the people who turned up to help out.”

And with severe storms having battered England during the winter, Gatting is adamant this year’s NatWest CricketForce is more important than ever.

“It is wonderful news that a record-breaking number of clubs have already registered to hold a NatWest CricketForce event,” Gatting added.

“In particular, the challenges presented by the nationwide floods at the start of this year, means that the 2014 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.”

NatWest CricketForce is an ECB project helping cricket clubs renovate and improve their facilities before each season with the help of members and their wider communities. Find out when your local club event is (4-6 April), and lend a hand at ecb.co.uk/nwcf

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