Anyone For Cricket?

Recent cricketing success in the middle is matched with success off the pitch as Wrea Green Cricket Club makes changes to promote cricket and revive an enthusiasm in the sport and the village, writes Ben Hall

The cricket club has a long tradition in the village and is synonymous with a summer afternoon and the sound of leather on willow in the idyllic English village setting. Many are the trophies and success stories that have been depicted on the wall of The Grapes pub where the changing rooms are located and cricket teas served. But it’s off the field that changes have breathed life back into the club.

As a member of the Palace Shield league structure since 1922, the club has always fielded two adult teams on a Saturday giving the village a look that is comparable to few others. It was a big moment for the club in 2019 when a vote was tabled to reduce the club to one team due to a lack of playing members.

Few positives came from Covid-19. Club members were wary but with more free time available, decided that they would like to return to some activity. Success followed, playing numbers swelled and a development plan started to evolve.

Wrea Green Cricket Club (WGCC) does not fit a traditional club. There is no club house, no power, no toilets, but the vista is unique. The opportunity to land the ball in ‘The Dub’ (a large pond on the village green) and create a splash in reality and metaphorically, is appealing to many though the struggle to keep equipment such as sightscreens off site presents its own unique challenges.

The Palace Shield league help promote the growth in standards of cricket and their ground audit cannot account for these exceptional factors. Wrea Green’s ground officially ranks as sub-standard on paper but is possibly one of the most charming and picturesque grounds, regularly featuring as a favourite away trip for the amateur player despite the walk to the changing rooms, but then, they are above the pub!

Sport at the amateur level relies on volunteers and funding. The Wilson family were not only landlords of the village pub when WGCC joined the leagues but have since been involved in village cricket with Richard Wilson the current chairman.

Asked for his opinion on what village cricket means, Richard said: “It is a symbol of summer. It is a conversation starter and interconnects villagers, businesses, the school and passers-by. A mid-summers day with people using The Green like they have for more than a hundred years is comforting to all generations and brings people together. We understand that giving back is important and now have a junior section that is run by volunteers to provide a link into keeping alive something that is synonymous with Wrea Green for many years to come.”

Triumphs on the field have been regular with the most recent being the promotions of the 1st XI and 2nd XI over the last two seasons, but behind the scenes is where the real wins have been. The re-introduction of a junior section has given focus to some of the young people in the village and is driven by villager, groundsman, ex-player, and coach, John Lyon – formally recognised by Lancashire Cricket as winner of their ‘Gamechanger Award’ last year. At a time when playing numbers are dwindling in school cricket, Wrea Green have taken the view that now is the time to invest – once the game is gone, it’s gone.

There is an under 15s team playing hard-ball and two national programmes designed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). The All Stars and Dynamos programmes connect directly into professional grade including the Hundred tournament with the incentive of tickets and even mascot opportunities. First and foremost, the programmes deliver fun as well as skills. Summer evenings spent watching your nearest and dearest and sharing a chat (and a drink!) with friends is a win on all levels. Developing these programmes alone is great, but it also allows access to development funding from the ECB distributed by Lancashire Cricket.

The Palace Shield League awarded monies to improve the scorebox and a recent application has been made for an ECB sustainability grant which was approved in April 2024. This has allowed the club to develop its unique scorebox – a converted trailer chassis, wheeled onto The Green for matches to a modern lightweight body. Added solar panels provide an electric supply as the club embraces the 21st century (but retains its quirks).

The club want the whole of the village to feel involved in this project. A £25 vice-president scheme provides an income and gives a discount to those who buy it. Local businesses support the club through sponsorship and advertising features plus they support club events hosted at the limited facilities available to the club. This isn’t only focused on taking – all fundraising is based on the principle of providing something rather than just asking for funds. One such example is curry night. This is an exchange with a sponsor where the food is supplied and all proceeds go to the club. The attendance numbers suggest the village enjoys the evening and booking a table at the restaurant supplying the curry for the few weeks before the event needs prompt reservation or the risk of disappointment is high!

Wrea Green Cricket Club know their place – winning isn’t always done on the field, but having one of the prettiest does help!

If you are interested in getting involved, please visit:



Tedd Walmsley

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