Didcot Cricket Club – History History of the Club The following is taken from the introduction to the 2003/4 Club Development Plan and has been updated where applicable. It acts as a good summary of the current position and an introduction to the 2008 Development Plan. The Original Didcot Cricket Club Not a great deal is known about the first Didcot CC. It folded in the mid 1960’s after a chequered history in its home at Edmonds Park, Didcot. It suffered from poor facilities, poor playing surface and hostility from other users of the public recreation ground. Reforming of the Club In 1977 a group based around local councillors got together and held an Open evening at Edmonds Park. The response was significant enough to see the Club reform. In the first season the Club played all its games away from home. The next year the club moved to the recently developed Hagbourne Triangle Sports Ground. This ground was developed when the local Boys Secondary School, St Birinus, built new Arts and Science blocks on a significant part of its playing fields. The Triangle had no amenities, only a rather poor cricket square. In the early days teas were provided in a local Bed & Breakfast establishment, then at an almost derelict Church Hall. The Club was given a caravan by the Town Council, to use as a changing room. When this perished the club purchased a Portakabin, which was subsequently destroyed by vandals. Throughout our time at the Triangle there were protracted negotiations between the Education Authorities and the Town Council over a joint user agreement being put in place. This would see both parties providing funding for a suitable Pavilion to be constructed on site. After years of vandalism to our facilities and political deadlock over the development, the Cricket Club approached the Power Station and asked if it would be possible to share the ground on the Station site with its own failing cricket section. The management was keen to allow us to use the facilities. In 1988 we started to use the Power Station as our home ground. Since those days the Club has evolved from a small club playing local friendly and midweek league fixtures into a competitive club playing regional league cricket with two Saturday league sides and a thriving junior section with five teams providing cricket for 7 to 17 year olds. The Club also retains its friendly and midweek league fixtures. Our Current Position Club Structure The club is controlled by a well organised committee, especially well served by very able officers acting as Secretary and Treasurer. Our constitution is designed on the standard template from the England and Wales Cricket Board and clearly states that our objective is to ensure the community of Didcot has access to participate and enjoy England’s favourite summer game. Membership We currently have in excess of 40 playing adult members, who with few exceptions are residents of Didcot. These senior members are joined by almost 100 junior cricketers. The junior section dramatically between 2001 and 2005: before 2000 the club had only a dozen juniors at any one time. All players/parents have to sign a code of conduct ensuring that they play fairly and act in accordance with the high ethics the club sets. Facilities Our home ground at Didcot Power Station has been used solely by the Club since the Power Station own cricket section folded in the early 1990’s. We had not benefited from a formal agreement for our use of the ground until 2004 when a lease was negotiated and agreed with Innogy (RWE Npower) for a 10 year period with a mutual 18 month break provision. As it had previously proved virtually impossible to raise any significant grant aid, the club have had to work extremely hard to develop and enhance all the facilities at the ground. Our pavilion is in reality two wooden pavilions put together with a Portakabin attached to the back. The club have had to raise its own funds for electricity and water to be installed. A shower complex has been added in recent years. Through the hard work and dedication of several members, the playing surface has been transformed in the last decade. Didcot now has one of the truest, firmest squares in Oxfordshire. The quality of the playing area has been acknowledged by the fact that in recent years we are regularly asked to host Finals of County competitions for both adults and juniors. In recent years more than £10,000 has been spent on improvements and repairs to pitchside facilities, through the subscription fees and fundraising activities of its members. With the rapid expansion in demand our ground is heavily over used. During the season there is activity taking place every evening of the week and on both the mornings and afternoons at weekends. We have now reached a position where any more expansion is impossible with only one ground. There is an unused football pitch next to our ground which has proved impossible to get to a suitable standard for cricket with our current resource and tenure, despite the best efforts of the club groundstaff. With the increased usage has also come the growing problem of maintaining our grounds equipment. The ground preparation is done with very old (>25 years) rollers, although new mowers were purchased in 2004 (totalling approx £5k with assistance from the local council, Tesco and a bank loan in name of the club) this has saved an annual outlay of £1,200 a year to a contractor to cut our outfield. Fixtures Didcot started to play competitive league cricket in the early 1990’s. After starting with one team playing in the Oxfordshire Cricket Association League the club gradually gained momentum, winning trophies and promotion for four successive seasons. Within a few years it was decided to create a Second Eleven in order to provide youngsters with the chance of playing competitive cricket. A Third Elevne was established in 2005 and there are plans to establish a Fourth Eleven for the 2009 season. In 1999 the club was invited to join the Oxford Times Cherwell League. This consists of 41 clubs from 6 counties (Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire). There are 11 divisions with 105 teams competing and is part of the pyramid system, with its Champions being eligible for promotion to Division 2 (West) of the Home Counties Premier Cricket League. Before we could join the Cherwell League we had to undertake considerable improvements to our pavilion. Teaching and Coaching In 2000 the club made a concerted effort to enhance the opportunities for young people in Didcot to play cricket. Since the club was reformed one club stalwart had worked almost single-handedly to provide junior cricket in the town. In 2000 he was joined by two long serving members whose own sons were now at an age where they wanted to play cricket. Since then the club has established a junior committee with 12 dedicated members serving on it. The club has had 12 members obtain Coaching qualifications from ECB between 2000 and 2004 although not all of these are still active. This has given a very good standard of coaching for the junior sections. Currently there are six different coaching/match sessions each week for juniors. Local Community The club actively goes into its local community and provides the opportunity for the community to enjoy the game of cricket. In June each year we host an Inter schools competition for the schools in the Didcot Partnership. This is for children in Year 5 of their education and under. The number of schools able to participate has doubled to 8. We also have strong links with the Physical Education department at St Birinus School. For many years St Birinus didn’t offer cricket to its pupils. It is now gradually increasing the opportunities to play the game. Junior coaches at the club liaise with PE teachers in the development of cricketers. The club has supported grant applications by St Birinus for new cricket equipment. The club also hosts cricket competitions for local companies and Fun Days based on cricket for other local institutions. Women’s Section Currently we have no senior women’s side. We do have a small number of girls participating in the younger junior sides. It is one of our priorities to create an equal opportunity for women to play cricket in Didcot. To ensure success we do need to address our problems with facilities, both availability and standard. Recruitment of girls from local schools taking part in our inter schools competition is ongoing. Fundraising Unlike the vast majority of clubs that it now competes against Didcot has no fixed bar facility from which to generate income for the club. However, the Club now has a bar licence to serve an amount of alcohol at fundraising events such as barbeques. Although we pay no rental to the Power Station for the ground we have to pay membership fees to the Power Station Social Club, under whose remit the cricket ground comes. Due to these two factors Didcot has to charge some of the highest fees in Oxfordshire for adult cricket. The club initially tried to offer free access to cricket for its junior members. However equipment cost meant that we had to introduce an annual subscription for school age members. The club has been kept afloat over the past decade by the efforts of its fundraisers, especially its 100 Club and Race Nights. Summary Didcot Cricket Club is now playing competitive cricket at a far higher standard than it ever imagined possible in the late 1980’s. The Cricket club is competing on a level very similar to Didcot Town Football Club. We are bringing to the town visitors from a wide area of central southern England. These visitors are leaving Didcot with a very positive impression of the Town. The Club is providing young people in Didcot with the opportunity to participate and enjoy sport, no matter what ability level they have. With cricket becoming increasingly popular and Didcot continuing to expand, the scope of Didcot Cricket Club is going to have to grow progressively over the next ten years.