Hales Cricket Club will return home on Saturday 29th May, when it will host its first Alliance Division 1 match against Sprowston on the Club’s new 7.5-acre development, having received the green light from the Alliance at their recent pitch inspection. The Alliance Grounds Committee checked the pavilion, square and outfield, as well as machinery, sightscreens and covers, before giving the news the Club was longing to hear – that it could return to Hales after a 2-year absence.
Hales Chairman Pete Dye was full of praise for the Alliance team whom they have been dealing with over the past few months: ‘There has been a really good relationship, and we have had a very positive response in what has been a massive project for the Club, with over 400 voluntary hours going in to transform the basic modules into a Clubhouse to be proud of. The modules have a scorers’ room, an umpires’ room, a shower room, toilets, a kitchen, changing rooms and a social area, all of which have been newly decorated. We have had over 40 different helpers, from 11- to 73-year-olds.’
Pete would like to thank everyone who has helped, especially Kirsty and Matt Lovick, Steve Claxton, Jimmy Dye and Liam Jones. Kirsty, Matt and Steve – along with Pete himself – have been putting in overtime to ensure that the ground and modules would be completed in time, with the last paint drying just before the inspection. Liam, who joined the Club this year, has shown exceptional commitment, travelling from Stokesby to be almost ever-present at the weekly work parties. Jimmy Dye was on hand to complete all plumbing work, as well as many other bits and pieces.
‘These people have shown outstanding commitment to the Club,’ commented Pete. ‘I can’t speak highly enough of them.’
Pete said the Alliance Committee were very impressed with the modules during their inspection: ‘They really appreciated the efforts that have gone into getting them to the condition they are in.
‘The square is coming on nicely, having been in place for almost 2 years, but there are real concerns with the outfield, which, due to one of the harshest winters for years, as well as a lack of rain combined with cold soil temperatures, still has some way to go to be suitable for its first match in just over 5 weeks. The Alliance gave us the go-ahead, with advice from Mike Clarke, the ECB pitch advisor for Norfolk, providing us with a plan of how to best improve the outfield, with weather being a big factor over the coming weeks.
‘The fact that there are several weeks until our first game, along with the evidence of how committed we are as a Club to getting the best possible facility, certainly played a big part in the Alliance’s decision, with regular contact between ourselves and Richard Lilwall, which has been agreed to continue throughout the weeks ahead, the Club gratefully accepting the offer of help and guidance.’
Dye closed by saying, ‘I’m extremely proud to be Chairman of this Club. Division 1 will be a real challenge for us, with some injuries and unavailability looking set to affect the start of the season, but with the youth policy continuing to produce good players, we’re looking forward to the opportunity of establishing ourselves as a Division 1 side playing at Hales – which is now a real mark of the improvements we have made, both on and off the field.’
If you would like to join the youth section or the seniors, or to sponsor an advertising board at the new pitch, phone Pete on 07931 711323 or e-mail him at Petehalescc@btinternet.com .