HATHERLEIGH CC rolled out the red carpet to civic dignitaries, friends of the club and former players to celebrate the official opening of their new pavilion.
Although the £425,000 pavilion has been in full use for most of the season that has just come to an end, staging a proper opening ceremony was delayed until by Covid-19 concerns.
The new pavilion replaced one completed in 1986, which the club had outgrown.
More than 180 guests made it to a traditional tape-cutting ceremony, which was carried out by Coun Caroline Mott, the Mayor of West Devon.
Clare Tyson, the Mayor of Hatherleigh, was another of the guests, as was Lord Clinton, whose land in West Devon is managed by Clinton Estates.
Nick Rogers, the Hatherleigh CC chairman, gave a short speech before the opening ceremony thanking suppliers, contractors and volunteers for the work they put into the pavilion project.
Rogers said it took more than six years to go from discussing a pavilion rebuild to opening the new building. He paid tribute to club members Sue Tidball and Susannah Maxa for their money management expertise during the building process.
“Thanks to Sue’s and Susannah’s mastery of spreadsheets I always knew exactly where we were and what was needed,” said Rogers, who presented both ladies with huge bouquets of flowers.
Costs were kept down by donations of materials from B J Barkwell Plumbing & Heating and builders’ merchant Tamar Trading.
Rogers revealed that tight financial planning meant the pavilion was almost completely paid for in advance.
“Back in 1986 we had to borrow £40,000 to balance the books – 35 years later it is £30,000 on an interest-free ECB loan ,” said Rogers.
The opening ceremony took place on the annual sponsors’ day hosted by the club, the highlight of which is a game between Hatherleigh’s 1stXI and an XI representing club president Colin Kidby.
Kidby told guests during the speeches prior to the opening he was hoping for a change of fortune having lost the previous nine matches.
Kidby’s side, assembled by cricket journalist Conrad Sutcliffe and skippered by Peter Randerson from Heathcoat CC, delivered a 78-run win for the president.
Randerson kept veteran batsman James Ford in reserve when is side batted, which proved a shrewd move as he top scored wit 47 not out off 36 balls in a total of 209 for eight.
The President’s XI stumbled from 55 for none to 68 for four with Randerson (35) among the casualties during a collapse that saw three wickets fall in the space of five balls.
Tom Hatton (39) and Ford’s son Jack (30), retrenched then Ford senior played back two maidens to get his eye in before launching into the bowling. Having scored just one run from the first 14 balls he faced, Ford went on the offensive.
Ford took eight off an over from Charlie Presswell, 11 off another from Rob Cockwill and 20 in boundaries from the final over bowled by Ruben Forrester to finish on 47 not out from 35 balls faced. No wonder he was later named man of the match!
Ford’s unbroken partnership of 46 with Alex Jopling – he made six not out – ultimately put the game out of reach for Hatherleigh.
Hatherleigh were all out for 131 with Charlie Nielson (44) and skipper Mark Lake (21) the main run-getters.
Six of the eight bowlers deployed by Randerson took a Hatherleigh wicket. Jackson Thompson (3-10) and Josh Towl (2-15) were the only bowlers with more than one wicket.