The sight of cricket clubs up and down the country continuing to get back to some sort of normality fills the heart with glee – and seeing the work clubs put in during the toughest periods of the lockdown fills the heart with pride.
Falkirk-based Westquarter & Redding have always had strong links with their local community and last year the ESCA outfit were named Sunday Mail sportscotland Local Club of the Year.
Stephen Sutton, one of the directors at the club, said: “When the lockdown began we had various conversations about what we could do to help others and then we got on with getting things done.
“We donated 12 pairs of pyjamas worth £250 to Forth Valley Royal Hospital for patients and then we began to run Zoom yoga and quizzes for our Alzheimer Scotland group with whom we already had a relationship with.
“Early on in lockdown was difficult for all, but especially for those living with Alzheimer’s and it was great to keep them connected and having fun.
“It was just as important to make sure that none of our members were missing out or unable to get their cricket fix so we handed out bats and balls to those who didn’t have them and we delivered new junior shirts to 50 kids and chatted with them and their families.
“Over and above those social distanced visits, all members have kept in regular contact in recent months through Facebook, Twitter, Zoom and email whilst avidly following the coaching videos – created by four of our coaches and posted to our You Tube channel – each week.”
We all know how much cricketers like a good cake at tea time and, missing them so much, the juniors at Westquarter took matters into their own hands.
They held a ‘Bake Off’ style event and the standard was very high, the winners being posted some Amazon vouchers and all involved keen to make it an annual occurrence.
The juniors, who returned to action at Bailliefields on the 16th July, have been full of ideas during ‘down time’ too, expressing an interest in more social events and family cricket days going forward while, as things have been easing, many of then and the seniors have completed the exercise circuit around the ground.
“We have also kept ourselves busy in the lead up to cricket returning by completed ground works which has included extending the car park, flattened unused land, extending the net run up and a ‘sponsor fence’,” Sutton explained.
“On that sponsor fence will be advertisements for local businesses and they will not have to pay anything for the rest of this year before entering into a two year agreement with the club for 2021 and 2022.”
Meanwhile, Edinburgh University CC went the extra mile – well 7,855.96kms to be exact! – to raise vital funds for Age Scotland.
The club were supposed to be on a tour to Barbados from June 4-15.
Sadly, the Covid-19 situation meant this was cancelled, but the club’s members decided to turn a negative into a positive and give back to the community.
Zoe Smith, the publicity secretary at the club, said: “While we should have been sunning it, we instead spent the 12 days running, walking, cycling, rowing and even rollerblading the 6,751kms from our beloved Peffermill Playing Fields ground in Edinburgh to our favourite Barbadian beach club, Harbour Lights in a challenge named #P2HL.
“EUCC members past and present, along with their families and friends, undertook the journey from their homes all around the world to see how close we could get.
When we planned this fund raiser, we never expected to reach our target, or even get close, to be honest, but unbelievably we crossed the 6,751km mark with a day and a half to spare.
“So, we didn’t stop, we carried on pushing and on day 11 we covered our greatest distance of 1,025.21kms and by the end of day 12, we had covered a huge 7855.96kms – over 1104km more than needed!”
They raised £3165 for charity, so why Age Scotland?
“We hope to raise the profile of such an important charity that often gets forgotten by our generation,” Smith continued.
“In the current pandemic, millions of older people are alone, isolated, and vulnerable, unable to see friends or families face-to-face.
“This money is going to have a massive impact on some of the most at-risk people in Scotland and will be put towards ‘friendship calls’ to tackle loneliness in the elderly. This scheme is a daily phone call to the most isolated and, with our funds, could give a phone call a day to someone for the best part of two years.
“We really hope this partnership with Age Scotland is one that will last for many years so we can continue to help and support our community. We have a few ideas in the pipeline for some collaborative events so watch this space.”
Age Scotland’s chief executive Brian Sloan said: “We’re so grateful to the Edinburgh University Cricket Club for the tremendous effort in their fund raising challenge. We at Age Scotland really enjoyed following the team’s journey each day, and it was particularly fitting to see it completed during Loneliness Awareness Week.
“It’s an amazing way to keep up community spirit during the coronavirus pandemic, which we know is proving extremely challenging for tens of thousands of older people in Scotland who are feeling anxious, isolated and lonely.”
Follow both of these proactive clubs:
@WestquarterCC and wrcc.org.uk
@eucc_edunicrick and edinburghuniversitycricketclub.com
Article by Gary Heatly