BB - Birty's Back
The new season is almost here, and we welcome back Birty from last year. I was recently lucky enough to spend Christmas and New Year in Sri Lanka, and spent a lot of time with Birty and his family, and we had a great time. While I was there I was invited to Birty’s club to watch a number of practice sessions, and it was an eye opener as to how hard First Class players work on their fitness and skill levels.
When there are no matches they practice daily, from 7am till 11am and 3pm till 6 or 7pm every day during the week. This year Birty changed teams to Moors Cricket Club, based in Colombo, and during my visit there the club hosted guest players from the UK in Moin Ali from Worcestershire and Karl Brown from Lancashire, who told me how hard it was to play in conditions where the temperature reached 35 degrees with 85% humidity – it must be quite a shock for Birty when he arrives at the Manchester Airport to face a typical English summer!
He has had a very good season over there, taking 29 wickets in 10 games so far, on wickets which are very batsman friendly. I can promise you that it’s not easy being a quick bowler in Sri Lanka!
He had a really good season at Astley Bridge last year, which was the reason we re -signed him for this year so early, and we were delighted when he signed for the 2012 season at our Comic and Curry night in July.
I am sure you all join with me in welcoming him back to Bridge, and I am equally sure that you will all be looking forward to seeing him again in April.
Not surprisingly, our second Annual Dinner on February 25th proved to be much the unqualified success we had all hoped for.
Building on their sterling work in launching this event last year year, Andy Northrop and Stephen Holt, had chosen yet another agreeable menu (supplied by Percivals Outside Catering Service) for the 60- plus guests who attended.
Past and present cricketers from the first and second teams were joined by social members and we were particularly pleased to have a large group from the Thursday bikers’ club who joined us to enjoy a delightful meal of Asparagus Soup; Roast Chicken with all the accompaniments and Profiteroles with lashings of cream!
Following coffee and biscuits, a lively game of Irish bingo left John Roscoe as the last man standing and he took home a bottle of Famous Grouse as his prize.
A raffle for a large selection of donated raffle prizes produced winners around the room and the evening was rounded off with musical entertainment from Lost Souls.
Well done Andy and Ste!! We’re already looking forward to next year!!
Maintenance work on the ground and off the field continue to be a heavy drain on our resources. Practicality rather than ornamentation is usually the watchword of the day.
However, it has to be said that making the club and the ground and, in particular, the image we present to Astley Bridge would make us more attractive to potential new members.
It was with this in mind that the club now has new lettering on the boiler stack and on the fencing at the car park and on the pavilion. But, there is another area which would make the club more impressive - and that is the entrance at the Sharples Park end.
Despite the harsh economic times, the committee recognises that replacing the ramshackle gateway with wrought iron gates bearing the ABCC acronym across their width would reflect well on the club as a whole, and open up the ground to those who have never seen beyond the old gates and our fence.
And so we then come to the nitty-gritty of cost. It would be impossible for the club to finance the project this year … unless, in the words of a leading politician “we are all in this together” by contributing towards this project.
The proposed gate design can be viewed at the club and contributions may be left behind the bar in a sealed envelope indicating the name of the donor and, for security’s sake, the amount donated.
A NEW ADDITION TO THE ASTLEY BRIDGE FAMILY
There doesn’t seem to be any limit to the groups we attract at Astley Bridge and now we have been pleased to welcome “Slimming World” .
When their local leader, Tracey, got in touch to ask if her group could use the Concert Room each Wednesday morning and afternoon, we were please to oblige and offer availability.
The ladies declare themselves happy with our facilities and Tracey has expressed her delight at the response she is receiving.
For our part, we have welcomed her members who have extended our “weekly family” which also includes “Weight Watchers”, a Yoga group; the aforementioned Bikers and, of course, the Thornleigh footballers.
PUTTING IT ABOUT A BIT
As part of our campaign to bring the club home to more people, an advertisement has been placed in March within the Sharples Magazine.
Distributed to homes in the Astley Bridge and Smithills area, it is hoped the advert - designed by Barrie and Lesley Cryer - will remind everyone in those areas just what we have here at Sharples Park.
Although it is early days, we are hoping for a good response not only to the advert but to the offer contained within it. This is a voucher for drinks worth £10 when presented by a new member joining for the Social membership of £12. Gotta be worth it cos where else could you buy a drink for £2 in Astley Bridge?
But that’s not the end of it. The advert has been adapted as a leaflet and volunteers are distributing these in their home areas to spread the word about the Bridge.
And there’s more …. We are now saying a little bit more than just “thank you” for function bookings with the launch of the “Astley Bridge Cricket Club Privileged Guest” scheme“. This takes the form of a letter of appreciation inviting the hirer to have free use of the room for another function within a specified period of time.
It may be some time before we feel the effects of these incentives but, as they say (whoever they are!) nothing ventured, nothing gained!
And there is the opportunity for you to do your bit as well. Please use every opportunity to promote the function room for events and meetings telling everyone you can it’s particularly good value not least because our beer is much cheaper now!