A host of former England stars will grace Timperley Cricket Club for a spectacular Twenty20 contest to cap their ECB Club Open Day, with treasurer Dave Howarth hoping the event can inspire a new generation of stars.
The ECB Club Open Days initiative, supported by Waitrose, is a nationwide programme that aims to help boost grassroots cricket participation by encouraging cricket clubs to open their pavilion doors and welcome guests from their local community for a day of cricket taster sessions and activities.
More than 1000 cricket clubs are getting involved this summer, with each participant receiving a £100 food and drink offer from Waitrose to help deliver their event.
And Timperley have pulled out all the stops to secure a game against a star-studded England Masters XI on July 3, including the likes of Matthew Hoggard, Simon Jones and Mark Ramprakash, with Howarth excited about the impact those stellar names can have on the club.
“We’ve got a big marquee with 250 guests and hopefully a big crowd to watch a team of ex-England players take on our club in a T20 game,” he said.
“It’s really exciting, especially as we’ve never put on an event as big as this before and we’ll also be having a small drinks reception with the players and a Q&A session.
“In the morning before that there will be a six-a-side tournament for local schools and it would be great to get some of those star players involved to do some coaching.
“We are really trying to get a lot of local kids down and getting their parents to come along too and see how serious we are about junior cricket so their sons and daughters get involved.
“The challenge is to keep hold of the juniors but our colts set-up is really good with 120 members including 20 girls, who play two years below their age group with the boys.
“The big thing about the open day is trying to get players who usually stop at Under-15s into all-day cricket and we’re hoping the T20 game can really inspire them.”
And former England captain turned ECB Cricket Partnership Ambassador Mike Gatting believes as many people as possible should head down to Timperley when their doors are swung open, adamant it will help build a better future for English cricket.
“Club Open Days has proven to be a fantastic way for cricket clubs to capitalise on the nation’s fervour for cricket during the summer,” said Gatting.
“By opening their pavilion doors and showcasing what they have to offer to their local community, clubs will hopefully be able to inspire newcomers to come and join them.
“We want to inspire more players, volunteers and social members to come together and get into cricket.”
For more information about Club Open Days, supported by Waitrose, including a full list of clubs registered, visit ecb.co.uk/clubopendays