Pulborough Cricket Club are preparing for a new era with £80,000 worth of investment and a new head coach.
Over the next two winters, the club’s wicket at Pulborough Recreation Ground will be rotated 90 degrees and undergo a renovation project to improve the quality of the square, which has long attracted criticism.
An electronic scoreboard was also installed this summer, as the club makes use of a £28,000 grant from Horsham District Council.The remainder of the funding for the project has come from the ECB and the Sussex Cricket Board, plus fundraising activities at the club.
Pulborough’s senior cricket co-ordinator James Heimers said: “When we went into the Sussex Premier League, the wicket was assessed and we were told it sould get inspected by the ECB. It was built on a field essentially and is not a proper cricket square, it will not hold up for many more seasons.”
Rotating the square by 90 degrees will also see Pulborough fall in line withg safety regulations of not facing the setting sun.
“Half the work will be completed and the following summer we will play on only half the strips, and the wicket will be completed the next winter,” James added.
Pulborough have also appointed Merv Jones, a former Wales player who was previously the head performance coach at the Isle of Wight Cricket Board. His remit will cover both senior and junior cricket, and he is also an assessor for those seeking ECB qualifications.
Chairman Nick Cousins said: “We are delighted that Merv has joined us and his infectious enthusiasm is already creating a positive attitude throughout the club as we move towards next season’s challenges.
“A formal training culture has been somewhat lacking in previous years, so with Merv’s help our players have a great opportunity to develop their skills and create a stable and happy environment to bring future success for all of our teams.”
Jones’ appointment also represents a shift away from the Rohit Jagota era, the all-rounder became a central figure at the club and Pulborough’s star performer in the six seasons he spent there, before leaving at the end of this summer.
James added Pulborough will prioritise staying in Division 2 of the Sussex league but harbour hopes of a top four finish.: “Towards the end of the season we were quite aware that Rohit was going to leave. That led to a lot of planning for the future.”
The first programme of weekly training sessions begins on Tuesday (November 13) at Rydon School, Storrington (7-8.30pm) with an emphasis on fitness, strength and conditioning together with cricket skills.
New members are welcome to attend, and should contact on James Heimers 07715102924.