September 24, 2015 | Community News
Players at a newly-formed South Yorkshire cricket club have marked the end of their first season by putting up a sign of their development plans for next year with the help of a local renewable energy firm.
Whiston Forge Cricket Club was established earlier this year as a result of the merger of two long-standing local teams, Whiston Cricket Club and Sheffield Forgemasters CC.
The new team, which runs two weekend and two midweek senior sides, has now put up its first official club sign at the entrance to its Pleasley Road ground, thanks to a £1,000 grant from Barlborough-based renewable energy firm Banks Renewables.
And as well as giving a rubber stamp to the new name, the club is also hoping it will help to cut the number of lost cricketers who turn up at the Whiston Forge ground when they’re due to be playing elsewhere in the village!
The Banks Renewables grant funding has also enabled the club to run a three-feet chicken wire fence right the way the boundary to help stop balls that have been hit to the boundary becoming lost in the fields, water, road or houses that surround the ground, a move which has helped to both cut the time spent looking for lost balls and reduced the cost of replacing ones that couldn’t be found.
Plans are now being put in place to launch the club’s first junior side next season, and it is continuing to work towards fulfilling a long-term plan for improving the club pavilion.
The grant was awarded to Whiston Forge Cricket Club from the community fund linked to Banks Renewables’ nearby Penny Hill wind farm, which is ring-fenced for use within the parishes of Aston, Thurcroft, Treeton, Ulley and Whiston, and which has already seen grants totalling over £40,000 made in support of organisations across these communities.
Ken Ingram, treasurer of Whiston Forge Cricket Club, says: “The club has enjoyed a successful debut season, with our first team winning promotion to Division Three East of the South Yorkshire Senior Cricket League, and having the new sign in place is a great way to end the summer.
“Because we’re on the main road through Whiston, we regularly get cricketers turning up who’re supposed to be playing on the other side of the village, so hopefully they’ll now be able to see that they’re heading for the wrong place much earlier!
“The chicken wire fence is a very simple idea, but it’s already proved a effective one, as it very quickly helped us to cut the number of lost balls that we then needed to pay to replace, and has also meant we’ve not wasted lots of playing time looking for boundaries that have gone into the undergrowth.
“We’re focusing all our resources on improving the clubhouse at the moment, and without the help provided by Banks Renewables, both these projects would have stayed on the back burner, so we’re very thankful for their support and are already looking forward to getting back out on the pitch next season.”
The Penny Hill Wind Farm Community Fund will provide over £500,000 of community funding over the 25-year lifespan of the Penny Hill Wind Farm, a figure which would increase if the solar PV scheme that Banks is now looking to locate on a portion of the Penny Hill site gets the go ahead.
Lewis Stokes, development relations coordinator at the Banks Group, adds: “Whiston Forge Cricket Club has established itself as a successful part of the local sporting community in its first season, and we’re glad to be supporting their future development plans.
“The Penny Hill Wind Farm Community Fund was specifically designed to help local community organisations such as the cricket club improve what they could offer to their members, users and other people in the area, and our hope is to do even more through the solar PV scheme we’re looking to bring forward at the Penny Hill site.”
Projects, community groups, or voluntary organisations in the vicinity of the Penny Hill Wind Farm which are looking for a grant of up to £3,000 should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 for further information.
For further information on the Penny Hill solar PV project, and to register support for it, please visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/penny-hill-solar