The Cambridge Junior Cricket Club, the largest of its kind in the Waikato, is working to accommodate Cambridge’s growing population by joining with the Cambridge Junior Football Club to share their facilities and fields. Planning started in March and will be set in stone quite literally when concrete is poured for new cricket pitches in the next few days, at the Vogel St grounds.
It will mean the two separate organisations can share maintenance costs, keep seasonal sport at the premises all year round, plus enable the cricketers to use the one location and host more home games.
“It’s exactly what we were looking for,” said Steve Carter, chairman of the Cambridge Junior Cricket Club, explaining that the organisation had been looking for a more accommodating facility for the past few years. “We really believe that the future of sports clubs in Cambridge is about coming together and seeing how we can work together…We’ve got a lot of kids that do both, so it’s hopefully the start of something quite special.”
“Last year we probably had alot more away games than home games because there weren’t enough cricket pitches available,” said Gary Kelk, a Cambridge Junior Football committee member whose children play cricket. “So when I started helping out on the junior football committee I thought there must be a way that we can use our community facilities collectively better.”
Having previously used pitches at Victoria Square, Cambridge Middle School, the Leamington Rugby Club and the Wordsworth St Domain, the cricket club’s nine Saturday teams will have “the opportunities to have more games in Cambridge rather than travelling away,” said Steve. “And if we’ve got more than four home games we can use the other facilities (in Cambridge) as well.” Saturday cricket, which starts October 27, will move to the new location from mid-November, when the new cricket pitches are due to be completed.
Friday night cricket, which is split between the Square and the middle school, will move to the new grounds when the season starts November 9. “There’s pros and cons of moving cricket away from the square, it is such a great place to have it,” Steve explained, “but we place more importance on having the one location, so if mums and dads have got a five year old, a seven year old and a nine year old they can just come to the one place and enjoy the occasion.”
Several local businesses have jumped on board to help sponsor the new pitches, and the Grassroots Trust will cover the new turf. “We’ve been really lucky,” said Steve. “We’re really looking forward to bringing cricket here, sharing the facilities, assisting the football club with that, but mostly having a spot where the community can come together and really enjoy sport in the one place.”