Sunday, 17 March 2013

Cricket Clubs in Crisis?

All across the country cricket clubs are gearing up for the 2013 season. Dreams of long, hot summer days, raising your bat as you get a fifty or a hundred or the banter that thrives throughout our clubs lie ahead, but for some clubs, 2013 represents a season that could make or break them financially.

Worcester...a ground that has suffered recently with wet weather

Austerity measures are taking place all throughout Europe and cricket clubs are no different. The price of materials for grounds has risen above the rate of inflation, the cost of repairing machinery is similar and clubs are struggling. I know for one it costs our club around £15,000 to actually play cricket where we do, and we make that up by a combination of annual subscriptions, match fees, social events and ensuring that our members have a few sherberts in our bar after the game. Every year is a struggle and I believe it is getting harder.

More and more clubs are starting to merge due to lack of members, and lack of people being afford to play the game due to the recession. The wet weather of 2012 decimated some clubs and 2013, is for want of a politer phrase, shit or bust. Some clubs I know in North London and Hertfordshire are over £40,000 in debt, a ridiculous amount for small organisations. Some have been reckless in their pursuit of success granted, by paying sums for overseas players in recent years, who have brought short term gain and then jumped on the first flight to the southern hemisphere. However, most are just struggling due to reduced membership and last seasons washout.

One club we spoke to in South Wales last year had played one home game by mid July!

One way of making a few quid for your cricket club is by logging on to

Those guys down at Kingfisher Beer should be applauded for what they are doing, in trying to help clubs raise funds with their interactive quiz nights and I would recommend getting on to their website and downloading their pack to raise vital money for your club. They are recommending a curry and quiz night and helping to inject money into cricket clubs throughout the UK. Even Swanny recommends it!

The Cricket Family on Twitter are also worth a follow and is a great forum for clubs to bounce ideas around each other. You can also help your club by paying your subs early. No doubt your treasurer is robbing Peter to pay Paul at present as he is no doubt forking out for rent, match balls, bar stock and various other ad hoc items without seeing any sort of return until mid summer? He or she, will seriously appreciate your annual subs arriving in April as opposed to later in the year having nagged you for two months.

Even Swanny recommends downloading the Kingfisher Quiz and Curry night pack!

Also, stay and have a couple of beers with your team mates after the game. As well as increasing team spirit, it will also put an extra six or seven quid behind your bar. If every member did this it would be an extra sixty or seventy notes in the till, per team. Every penny helps!

I hope and pray that we have a dry start to the 2013 season. No one wants to see a rival club go to the wall no matter what the history is. The battles fought out by previous generations are part of the fabric of local life, part of what creates this wonderful cricketing community of ours, and we can only hope that clubs survive.

Time will only tell, but please, please, play your part off the pitch as you do on the pitch. Your club needs you now more than ever.


  1. Interesting debate but I think the threat to the existence of clubs is more about the changing rules in society and particularly the work place. Club cricket as I was bought up on in the 80s was based on a 9-5 Monday-Friday society where more or less everypne worked reasonably locally to home. Today people work all times and days and travel many miles to work each day. This means it is not usually possible other than for single men to devote most of their weekend to cricket. The fact is with travel to and from and pre match preparation a league game is a whole day gone. Also in the South of England house price inflation up until the last 5 years has forced most young people out of the areas they were brought up in and away form their clubs. There is no answer whilst cricket entails such time commitmment and as one who alsways loved club cricket I too fear for its future.