Kilmarnock Cricket Club are getting ready to host their Sports Dinner on Saturday, March 26 in their 170th year – and 2022 is shaping up to be an exciting one for the Ayrshire outfit.
The event at 7pm at the Portland Bowling Club is a major fund raiser for the club and will include Alex Fleming and Eric Davidson as the speakers, food, drinks, a raffle and an auction and will give club members young and old a great chance to reconnect ahead of the season starting next month.
On the field, the 170th year of the club formed in 1852 will be marked with a match against the Forty Club on June 12 and Kilmarnock are hopeful of getting a few more experienced heads out of retirement for that one.
And with the club having recently signed a new sponsorship deal with Billy Bowie Tankers which will help the senior section, the junior section and help improve facilities at the Scott Ellis Playing Fields, there is certainly a feelgood factor around.
“The Sports Dinner has happed most years for the last 15 or so – apart from in peak Covid times – and it just so happens to coincide with our 170th year as a club this time around, but it’ll be a great way to kick off the season,” president Jim Hill explains.
“As well as the match with the Forty Club we will have golf days and such like this summer and to get Billy Bowie and his company on board as a club sponsor is also really exciting.
“Cricketing-wise things are going well at the club.
“Our XI were back up in the WDCU First Division last year and they held their own very well, finishing fifth.
“The team played really well in some games and not so well in others, but I think the players took a lot of belief from being able to compete with the teams in the top four at times and are now ready to build on that in the next few months.
“It had been a target to finish in the top five at the start of last summer, so now we know we can do that there is no reason why we cannot finish higher in 2022.
“The second XI also did well and has a good blend of older heads and younger guys coming through while the junior section is growing all of the time now that we are coming out of the pandemic times.
Back in the day the club used to play in the Kirkstyle area of the town then the Queens’s Drive area, but just over a decade ago they moved to their current home and it has been a “godsend”, according to Hill.
“We have managed to invest in the facilities in that time at the Scott Ellis Playing Fields, but the support of Billy Bowie, who owns Kilmarnock Football Club, could be a gamechanger for us,” he adds.
“He is very passionate about local sport and giving local youngsters the chance to get involved and so are we, so with his support we can grown the game and do lots of exciting things in the community.
“The financial investment will allow us to perhaps bring in a coach, upskill more of our junior coaches and get into local schools to give more taster sessions and get more of the young people into this great sport.
“There is a lot of work ahead, but these are good times to be involved at Kilmarnock Cricket Club.”