In the first of this season’s Thursday features Gary Heatly hears about Livingston CC’s 40th anniversary…
After such a frustrating 2020, the 2021 cricket season is going to be special for all clubs up and down Scotland.
In recent weeks it has been so heartening to see photos on social media of training returning as well as junior matches, pathway matches and senior friendlies.
This coming Saturday will see clubs in a host of leagues below the Eastern and Western Premier Divisions and the Women’s Premier League kicking off their competitive campaigns.
Every player who is going to be involved will be excited about that first ball being bowled and that first boundary being hit – and for Livingston CC’s players this is the start of a very special summer.
That is because 2021 marks the forward-thinking West Lothian-based community club’s 40th anniversary and, at the weekend, their first XI are due to be away to Musselburgh in East League Division One.
“The club was formed in 1981 by a group of like-minded people locally, including Dr Salim Patel and Doug Druce, who loved their cricket and they firstly played matches on a ground in Bangour Village,” David Vettese, the vice-chairman who also heads up the coaching for the junior section, explains.
“A men’s team began to play in the East leagues and did that for a number of years – with a second team also being put out at times – before West Lothian District Council funding came in the late 1990s and around 1999 the club moved to our current home at Dresselrigg in the Murieston area of Livingston.
“I joined the club in 2000 having spent some time in England and having played for Holy Cross in Edinburgh and what struck me straight away was the friendliness and sense of community around Livingston CC.
“A few years later [in 2004 after Lottery funding] we built the clubhouse at the ground and the junior section also started to take off around that time and things have really grown since then.”
Over the last 20 or so years a steady stream of quality youngsters have come through the Livingston ranks and even before that time Ayaz Gul, who went on to represent Scotland, learnt his trade with them.
Jack Jarvis, who now plays for Grange and is a Scotland age-grade cap who has tasted county second XI action down south, is a Livingston graduate.
“He is an excellent player and still has links with the club and behind he we have a great crop of young players coming through, it is very exciting for a club the size of ours and testament to the hard work so many volunteers put in,” Vettese continues.
“This season we will be running All Stars and Dynamos programmes for the youngest players with teams also turning out at under-12, 14 and 16 with teenagers also set to get opportunities in the senior teams when it is appropriate.
“We currently have two senior XIs with Jamie Casely captaining the first XI and Shazad Gul leading the second XI. They will play in East League One and East League Five respectively and everyone is just pleased to have cricket back in such a milestone year for the club.
“Hopefully later in the summer we can mark the 40th anniversary with some events, but everyone who has been involved here over the last four decades should be very proud about what has been achieved.”
Livingston CC’s under-12s are pictured playing Carlton Stars recently – thanks to the club for the images