Walthamstow Cricket Club will be playing for much more than just the result when they take on Bow Green next weekend as they bid to put their club on the map in the process.
Last year’s victorious Ashes summer attracted 310 clubs nationwide to take part in the ECB Club Open Days scheme, with double the number already signed up this season.
One of those clubs is Walthamstow and they are encouraging the community to come out in full force on Saturday June 21 to catch the second day of the second Test between England and Sri Lanka in the process.
But while there will be plenty of action on the TV Walthamstow will be strutting their stuff as well as they take on Bow Green in an Essex County Cricket League Division Two clash.
And fixture secretary Abdur Rehman Shaikh is hoping the combination of club cricket and international cricket will be enough to get new faces to join the club in any capacity.
“It’s really important to us that community members come down and watch England and hopefully get involved with the club,” he said.
“Most of those who came down last year became social members with the club which is crucial for us because we are tucked away a bit so not a lot of people know that we exist.
“Last time we got two new players but if we don’t get any players then that’s ok we just want to make sure we are involving the community in the club.
“Even if people just come down and have a drink and a good time then that is great for the club; we aren’t targeting players or specific ages or anything, we don’t care who comes down.
“Last year we had about 60 people come down who had never been to the club before so this year we would love the same amount of people to shop up.
“Everyone is welcome because it often works out that word of mouth means as soon as one person is involved they tell others.”
Former England captain and the ECB’s managing director of cricket partnerships Mike Gatting is fully behind the scheme, adamant the ECB Club Open Day allows Walthamstow to showcase what they do in their community and encourage others to help out.
“The ECB Club Open Days opens the doors [to the public] and can attract some new volunteers, players or even just social members,” Gatting said.
“It also puts the club itself on show to the community so people know that it’s there, and hopefully they can attract new sponsors.
“People can go down to the clubs, see how much fun it is and what they do for the community – getting children involved or simply helping adults expend some energy – and they can see that it’s a great place to be part of.”
The ECB Club Open Days, in partnership with Waitrose, is a nationwide initiative 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.
Find out when your local Club Open Day is and pop along by visiting www.ecb.co.uk/clubopendays