Wasps players are swapping the oval ball for a round one at a Bedworth park this Summer to mark the start of a new era for the town’s cricket club.
The pavilion at Bedworth Cricket Club’s home, which has been situated inside the Miners Welfare Park since 1930, has recently undergone a major refurbishment.
To mark the official opening of the pavilion, a Wasps team made up of names such as Jimmy Gopperth and Tom Cruse will take on Bedworth at Miners Welfare Park in a T20 matchup on 15 July at 1.30pm, where each team will have a single innings each restricted to 20 overs.
The refurbishment, which began in May 2017, includes an extension to the existing pavilion which now means there are four player changing rooms instead of two, along with an additional umpire changing room. A new kitchen and bar has also been installed at the venue.
Renovation works came about after the club was successful in obtaining grants amounting to a total of £255,000 from Sport England, Warwickshire County Council, ECB and WREN. The club has also received support from Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council.
Ivor Richards, chairman of Bedworth Cricket Club, said: “We had no changing rooms last season and we had to get changed in porta cabins in the car park, so to have the pavilion up and running again is tremendous.
“As a club, we believe that our new pavilion is something special. For a cricket club such as ours to have had such a long history and now be able to look ahead to the future with fresh new facilities is fantastic and we are proud of that.
“Hopefully it can take us to the next level in terms of recruiting players and increasing our presence in the community.”
The new facilities appear to be having the desired effect for Bedworth’s first team too, who are currently challenging at the top end of the Warwickshire Cricket League Premier Division.
“The players have been able to access the facilities for the new season but this is a big deal for us as a club, which is why we want to put on an event to celebrate,” Ivor added.
“It will be an absolute pleasure for us to welcome Wasps to our home. In recent years we have formed a fantastic relationship with Wasps owner Derek Richardson.
“He has been a wonderful help and we really appreciate the gesture from the players to come down and have a game with us.
“This is a rare chance to see some of the country’s elite rugby players try their hand at a new sport, free of charge, so we’d urge as many people as possible to come down to see the new facilities and watch an interesting game of cricket.”
The official opening of the pavilion is set to take place at 11.30am, which will also see a signed Wasps shirt presented to Bedworth Cricket Club before the game gets underway at 1.30pm.
Derek Richardson, owner of Wasps, said: “We have developed strong links with Bedworth after supporting the town’s last two Armistice Day parades by providing stewards, and this cricket match reinforces the strong relationship we have built with the town’s people.
“As a club we are always looking to make new connections within our community, whether it’s contributing to local events or making a difference through sporting activities.
“Playing a different sport will be a fantastic way for our senior players to prepare for the new season – it should be a fun and competitive afternoon.”