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Stags are alive and kicking in new innings at new home

By Russell Youll | Grassroots | Published:

While most cricket clubs across the country were relieved to get back on the field after the coronavirus lockdown, few can have been more pleased than Cannock CC.

Cannock Cricket Club, where the 1st XI were playing Aldridge CC..

This time last year, the club had no ground having been locked out of their old home, caught in the middle of a dispute between a developer and creditors.

But after a huge collective effort by members, the Stags now have a new home and saw the first XI playing their first game at their new home, in Littleworth Road, Rawnsley, last weekend.

And the momentous occasion was crowned with a century from opening batsmen Adam Benton, who smashed 173 in the South Staffs League fixture against Aldridge.

The game was eventually rained off with Cannock looking odds on for a win after racking up 311 for four wickets from their 40 overs while reducing the visitors to 55 for four when the deluge came.

However, the most important thing for Cannock is still to be playing cricket and having a home of their own once again.

After taking over the lease on their new site late last year after it was vacated by old rivals C&R Hawks, they were hopeful of hitting the ground running in the spring. A huge amount of work has taken place, inside and out, at Littleworth Road but the drive was halted by Covid-19 restrictions.

Since the easing of lockdown, efforts have redoubled and the clubhouse has been given a big makeover with the bar area being revamped and work ongoing on all other areas of the building.

Outside, club members led by Keith Cooke and Tom Bull have been working hard to improve the square and outfield and a huge amount of effort has gone into bringing the previously run-down nets back into use. Volunteers spent days jet-washing artificial wickets to bring them back to life as well as clearing large areas which had become overgrown.

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The nets are now back in use for senior and junior practice sessions – with the club reporting huge interest in the game.

First team captain Phil Heighway said Cannock are a real community club and are looking to welcome many more members, of all ages.

“We’ve had an incredible amount of interest,” he said. “Practice sessions have seen many new people coming along and we’ve been pleased to see some former members of C&R Hawks coming back to the ground to get involved in cricket again.

“So many people have been chipping in, volunteering to help with the pitch as well as things like painting the clubhouse, putting up signs and getting the bar and kitchen running.”

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However, he highlighted the efforts of chairman David Robinson and honorary secretary Graham Machin as crucial in ensuring the survival of the 160-year-old club.

“Dave and Graham have been incredible,” said Heighway.

“The amount of work they have put in to get us up and running at a new ground has been amazing. A year ago, we were playing ‘home’ fixtures for our four teams at places like Abbots Bromley and further afield and meeting up afterwards at Hatherton Parish Rooms, across the A5 from the old Chase Park ground.

“To be where we are now would have been impossible without their work.

“The bar has been a big success since restrictions were eased and we’ve been able to get it up and running again.

“We are a real community club and welcome people along to play or watch cricket, have a drink or use the clubhouse for social occasions.

“Hopefully, this new start can lead to a really bright future for the club.”

The club, which runs four adult teams on a weekend and several junior teams, welcomes new members. Contact Graham Machin on 07836 371043.

Russell Youll

By Russell Youll

Group Sports Editor for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star

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