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Top award for Church

CHURCH Cricket Club have become one of a select band of clubs in the country to gain the England and Wales Cricket Board Clubmark.

CHURCH Cricket Club have become one of a select band of clubs in the country to gain the England and Wales Cricket Board Clubmark.

It is a prestigious award held by just over 50 clubs in the country - and Church are the first Lancashire League club to obtain it, although other clubs are working towards it.

The key to the Clubmark is providing a "child friendly and safe environment" and is given to clubs who have a reliable and safe place for children to play cricket. The award enhances the reputation of the club as well as making it more attractive to parents and young players.

Church - thanks to 23 folders of work provided by chairman Don Holt and his wife - have shown the ECB how they have invested in and educated coaches and volunteers and that they have a dedicated team who strive to improve facilities.

The Blackburn Road club, which was recently recognised at the Lancashire Sports Awards, has been playing a big role in the community for some time now and has staged competitions and coaching for local schools. They are one of a few clubs in the county with a ladies team.

"It is a bit of status for the club," said Church's league representative Jack Houldsworth. "We have a pretty comprehensive coaching structure with around half a dozen qualified coaches.

"I think the ground is in the best shape it has ever been in. We have the new pavilion and the facilities are good.

"We have done a lot of work in the community going back over 20 years and we have worked in conjunction with Hyndburn Borough Council to help them organise competitions and events.

"One major consideration is that there are 43 schools in the Hyndburn area, not one of which has its own cricket facilities. So local clubs are important to make sure the kids get involved. We set our stall out to make sure we have done this."

The Church chairman has spent the last year putting together all the facts and figures.

"We have had to get an extra filing cabinet and it has all been scutinized," continued Jack Houldsworth. "They have looked at every aspect of the running of the club and it is important for the club to get this recognition."

Andy Hayhurst, Director of the Lancashire Cricket Board, said: "It is a huge feather in the club's cap.

"It means, in terms of being child friendly, they are in the top 200 clubs in the country in all sports - it is a huge achievement.

"The Clubmark is useful for the club and it also means they have access to funding."

Sport and Community Development Officer at Hyndburn Leisure Services, Lee Boyer, added: "We are delighted that Church have been recognised and they have put an awful lot of effort into the game locally."

  • FIRST team captain at Church next season with be Phil Sykes again; the second team skipper will be Andy Aspin and Alan Gilrane will be captain of the third team.


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