OFFICIALS at Ipplepen Cricket Club in South Devon are purring with joy after a successful start to the new cricket season.
After just two weeks of junior training sessions, the number of registered club members aged 5 to 17 stands at 117 - a record for the club. That number still likely to increase further as a few new faces are yet to return their membership forms.
Chris Partridge, the head coach at Moor Road, said the club has seen newcomers from many different backgrounds:
“Our membership number includes around 25 children in reception and year one who are attending our Mini Hitters sessions and a significant group of players aged 9 - 13 who will all be involved in our hardball cricket age group teams.
“We have had groups of players from the local rugby club come, as well as school friends of existing players and those who have been recruited through my work in local schools.”
Partridge said the club particularly proud of the increasing number of girls who are joining the club across all age groups.
“We now have more female members in the 12-16 age group than we do male players,” he said.
“Across the whole club there are around 40 girls taking part in training sessions every Friday and we are now running two all-girls hardball teams and an all-girls Kwik cricket team."
The influx of junior members has caused a few headaches at the club, but the work of numerous volunteer coaches and administrators such as junior chairman Andrew Maynard and membership secretary Dawn Green has meant logistical problems have been few and far between.
The one issue now facing Ipplepen is the capacity of their ground and clubhouse.
Chairman Matt Quartley additional young players and their parents are putting pressure on space in and around the pavilion.
“It is great to see so many youngsters at the club on a Friday night, but pretty much every blade of grass on the outfield is in use and at times it is three deep at the bar,” said Quartley.
“The fact we only have one ladies toilet between 40 girls training and an equal number of mums in the clubhouse causes a few issues.
“And we are in desperate need of more outside seating so all the adults can relax with their drink whilst the kids are playing cricket.”
Any local businesses that may be able to assist with the development of the club's facilities – especially provision of outdoor seating – should contact Quartley on 07967 592799.
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