A group of cricket players from Strand, who are passionate about the gentleman’s game and are seeking to establish their own identity, have been struggling for almost three years to secure home grounds as they tackle the 35-over 3C Division.
Now the team, currently playing under Sir Lowry’s Cricket Club, believes they have exhausted all avenues in their ambition to find a home, and have appealed to role-players to come to their rescue and ensure they surge ahead with their ambitions to progress.
Strand Cricket Club is a relative newcomer, born from an initiative called the Strand Community Sports Development that began early in 2015.
“We wanted to bring our community together through sports,” explained Vernon Swartland, club secretary, “We started with Sunday games, and over the months that followed we built a cricket team with a large pool of players. We all stay around Gustrouw, and this is a community team.”
Despite practising on a field without nets and making use of a concrete pitch that resulted in their balls lasting only a few days, the team persevered and continue to train in less than ideal conditions.
He said the first challenge they encountered was in registering with the Western Province Cricket Association, because they needed to have home grounds.
“It has happened on more than one occasion that on match day, whether at Sir Lowry’s Pass grounds or on another field, other teams pitch up to play their games,” said Swartland. “Most of the time we have no choice but to forfeit our game and give our opponents the win.” They approached the Facilities Management Committee (FMC) at Gustrouw, and were informed they will have to attend an AGM and submit a club constitution, among other required documents.
“We prepared and got all our paperwork in order, but we were never invited to an AGM, nor were we informed of when it took place,” said Swartland. “We set up meetings with Councillor Johan Middleton, so he could to assist us.” Asked to comment, Middleton replied: “The club has to be registered with the FMC for grounds.”
Swartland said they attempted to book the Gustrouw Sports Ground for all their home fixtures for the season.
He said: “We were told we have to book week on week, and it’s a first come, first served basis. But other teams submit all their fixtures and are assisted.”
Middleton advised that they register at the Strand Municipality, on the first floor, and approach the head of the department at Parks and Recreation for assistance.
“We contacted the head of department and managed to secure a meeting to discuss the way forward,” Swartland confirmed afterwards.
He said the team is aware there will always be challenges when starting from the bottom, and they do not seek to create a problem with other clubs using sports grounds they wish to share.
“We just want to play cricket. It’ll be so wonderful if there was another cricket team in Strand that we could play derbies against, such as the Hottentots-Holland cricket team, and create an amazing environment for our youngsters to develop their game.
“We want to host cricket tournaments and bring the community together. All we need is assistance in a proper manner, that will allow us to be registered as our own club with home grounds, and play all our games in the season. We want our own identity.”
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