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Owzat! Temple Sowerby not out and looking strong

Date: Tuesday 7th March 2017

AN Eden Valley cricket club is bucking the trend by bowling over seniors and juniors at a time when some village teams are struggling to survive.

At the start of the 2012 league season, Temple Sowerby had only nine players for a competitive match at Longtown. As a result there were concerns the club may struggle to see out the campaign.

But since then the club has developed, grown and is almost unrecognisable to the one which found itself in the perilous 2012 position.

“We now have two senior teams, and last season we were able to manage to raise 22 players for each weekend of the Eden Valley season,” said club chairman Douglas Farmer.

“We have just entered a team into the local midweek league for the forthcoming season. The club was keen to make strides in promoting cricket to the children in the local area.

“We saw this as an opportunity to help the club grow and we now have eight registered cricket coaches who have worked tirelessly to organise and plan for our very popular junior section.”

Last year 65 juniors came from miles around to participate in safe, organised and fun coaching sessions. “We deliver six weekly coaching sessions to five local primary schools, host an annual local Kwik Cricket festival and have now entered an under-11 team in the Cumbria Cricket Junior League,” said Douglas.

“The club has been very fortunate to have a large volunteer workforce, and it is not reliant on just a few to do all the work. This includes the committee, ground committee, junior section coaches, grant and fund-raising team - and even our tea ladies.

“This is the foundation for why the club has managed to turn itself around, and created a real sense of community in the local area.”

But, crucially, there has also been success and development off the pitch.

“We have been very fortunate to have received substantial support through grant funding,” Douglas explained. “Although requiring a substantial amount of hours completing paperwork, we have been able to purchase covers, a bowling machine, an AstroTurf wicket and a variety of coaching and ground equipment.

“Only just now, and of greatest significance, we have become the owners of the cricket pitch in Temple Sowerby.”

This has been acquired from a family estate.

“We have been very grateful to receive continued support from Cumbria Cricket Ltd, the England Cricket Board (ECB), Eden District Council, Cumbria Community Fund and Pride in Penrith Lottery. Without them we wouldn’t have the club we have today.”

There has been generous sponsorship from a range of individuals and businesses to the club, which organises fund-raisers throughout the year to maintain the club’s finances and make improvements.

Douglas added: “There is a real sense in the pride in what the club has achieved in such a short period of time from all the stakeholders at Temple Sowerby Cricket Club.

“The club is continually striving to build upon and improve on its achievements and all the hard work of recent years. There are concerns from the ECB that village cricket clubs are struggling to survive - but with the right people, support and willingness to work hard, great things can be achieved.

“Temple Sowerby CC are looking forward to the fast-approaching 2017 season with an eagerness to build on the success of previous seasons; continuing to build the junior section through the new All Stars nationwide cricket program that is being channelled by the ECB; increasing our volunteer workforce; and strengthening links within the local community.

Bob Simpson, director of cricket for Cumbria Cricket Ltd., hailed the club’s achievements.

“We are in a period of time where team sports participation is declining, due to a variety of factors,” he said. Temple Sowerby CC is bucking that trend, through their volunteer workforce and ability to identify projects that will ultimately provide the club with more players, more volunteers, and better facilities to meet the increased need.

“Cumbria Cricket Ltd. and the ECB have a number of initiatives available to support clubs. Temple Sowerby have benefited from a number of them, and we are delighted to engage and help them achieve the positive impact they have had.

“Temple Sowerby is a model club and we use them to demonstrate what can be achieved.”

Shap Cricket Club will not field any teams during the 2017 season.

On its Facebook page this week, a spokesman said: “It is with regret that the club will no longer be partaking in any cricket leagues from now on.

“This has been coming for a number of years. Last year we did play in the local midweek league but later in the season numbers dwindled away and we did not complete our fixtures.”

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