As featured on the Newark Advertiser website on 31 Jul 2019
A club that was on the brink of extinction is returning to its home ground in 2021 after more than £15,000 worth of funding was made available.
Claypole Cricket Club, who found themselves ground-sharing with friendly neighbours Caythorpe, have been boosted by the news of a potential return to their home pitch.
It follows a £15,500 project, which will improve the playing surface, water supply and showers at their School Lane facility.
Claypole CC chairman Mattthew Revill, who has been at the club since the age of 12, said: “With the help of the parish council and John Freeman, we are bringing Claypole Cricket Club back to Claypole.
“They realised how important sport was within the community and they have gone through the effort of finding and providing the funds.
“It takes a year for the new wicket to be put in, but if all goes well, then we are looking at returning to the village in 2021.”
The club had been in a predicament, and with its future on the line, the players, management and hierarchy unanimously voted in favour of returning to the village, despite the potential risks that come with it.
“We had a vote on whether we wanted to stay at Caythorpe and be Claypole in all but name, or to come back to Claypole and develop local sport within the community, but the decision was unanimous,” said Revill.
“Come April 2021 we will be back playing cricket in the village and it means so much to all of us.”
The move was made possible thanks to the work of Claypole Parish Council, Claypole Church of England Primary School, Sport England, Claypole CC members and village residents. It follows their three-year break from the village after extreme heat forced them to relocate following numerous reports of unplayable conditions from the South Lincolnshire and Border Leagues panel.
“The outfield was unsafe and it was because of the clay base we had,” said Revill.
“It cracked massively and starting to push up — the conditions were not great.
“We had no water supply either and when we eventually sorted that issue it was too late to sign off and use it.
“We got to a point where we had to quit the league, fold or move to Caythorpe or Fulbeck because they were the only two who would take us in.
“But to help us move forward John (from the parish council) has worked tirelessly to get the club the funds, which will give us showers in the changing rooms.”
The club originally planned for a five to six year fundraising plan, which would have been their main source of income.
“The parish council have come up trumps,” said Revill, who is also vice captain.
“The company we were working with thought we would get back sooner rather than later, but I didn’t want to rush back, due to it being community money — it needed to be spent right.”
Revill said the squad were looking forward to the move back, which will round off the three year break come the 2021 season.
“It’s a dream,” he said. “After the way we left in 2018, we didn’t think we could return.
“There are some members of the club who may have retired by then, but there is a huge passion to return and there was real excitement when we were told we could get the funding to move back.
“It’s given us an opportunity to rebuild all over again and this doesn’t happen often in local sports.
“It’s a massive opportunity for us.”
Among his many thanks, Caythorpe were at the top of Revill’s list, after the club’s chairman Dave Cree allowed his beloved Claypole to continue their 100+ year history.
“Caythorpe supported us the whole way through and its a testament to them,” he said.
“Would you get that in a football club? Would you get it anywhere else? Cricket is unique in that sense.
“I’ve played most sports, and football can be more of a battle, but cricket still has the gentleman element to it and there is a different atmosphere between clubs.
“I’ve got two years now to find a groundsman, someone who wants to help out and give back to the community. I’m using this as an opportunity to push the team forward, as well as cricket in the local area.
“I want to build a girls team, a walking cricket team, but first things first we want to secure cricket back in Claypole.”