With winter’s arrival signalling the off-season, it takes a lot of effort keep Sutton Cricket Club functioning according to their chairman.
Many clubs struggle with finances and with no cricket being played, lots of them have to keep a close eye on their balance books through the cold months.
With cricket clubs being so seasonally reliant, there is a big emphasis on raising the money needed in the summer months.
Sutton chairman Gary Greener said: “Everything on the cricket field aspect, we’re self-sufficient with that, so we must raise about £13,000 a year just to make sure that we can fulfil our requirements for the full season.
“The majority of that money we get during the summer. What we try to do at the end of every season is run an annual dinner. So, we’ve run a dinner this year in October, where we’ve ended up raising about £3,500.”
Sutton hosts an array of events, like the annual dinner, football watch-alongs, sweepstakes, and game nights, to raise the money needed for the cost of winter nets, grounds equipment, and other costs that go with operating the club.
The England Cricket Board also helps clubs with various grants and schemes, which are important to keeping organisations going.
Sutton are halfway through repaying an interest-free loan that the ECB offers to all clubs.
Greener said: “We decided that we’d get a £10,000 loan, refurb the roller, and then get some machinery that would allow us to cut wickets and do the outfield ourselves, because what we were finding was that the outfield was getting neglected.”
It’s not just money that local clubs rely on.
Volunteers are vital to keeping cricket clubs all over Merseyside alive.
Greener said: “We had a couple of lads who joined a volunteer group and cut the outfield while we still had the groundsman doing the square.
“So, over the last two-and-a-half years, we’ve gradually gotten more and more machinery, which has allowed us to take more ownership of the ground. I know it’s very time consuming, but we’re also saving a lot of money because we’re not paying for private work.
“When people come from another club, they don’t tend to move, they tend to stay. Nine of the 11 lads, maybe even 10 of the 11 lads, all came through the junior set-up.”