SANDFORD Cricket Club has become one of the rare cricket clubs in Devon to have more than one cricket pitch.

Andrew Glass, Club President, welcomed everyone to a ceremony to celebrate the opening of the second pitch and an occasion to recognise the contributions of people who had made such an achievement possible.

He told the large crowd which had gathered on Friday, June 23: “We deliberately timed the occasion to coincide with our Friday evening activities when so many youngsters are developing their interest in cricket in these superb surroundings.”

Mr Glass then introduced Matthew Theedom, Chairman of the Club’s Youth Side, who explained why Sandford Cricket Club needed a second pitch.

He explained: “Two years ago we found that we had no space to play all of our fixtures at home and decided to play many away at other grounds.

“We felt it was important for juniors to have a second ground, especially on Sundays when it is very difficult to play here because our growth has been so good, it is the popularity of the club which has driven this.

“We have 103 Allstars players and decided that having two pitches was the answer.

“It is rare because until today there were only four clubs in Devon with two pitches.”

Mr Glass continued: “I would like to thank those who have contributed to the pitch’s creation.  Firstly none of this would have been possible, as it is largely self-funded, without the support of all members, sponsors and players who contribute to the clubs finances each year.

“I must start by thanking the Theedom’s, Matt and Chris, for having the vision of a second pitch. To have conceived the idea and driven it to fruition is a remarkable achievement.

“Secondly, we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the Cheriton family, Rosie and Richard for their loaning of this land.  Thank you very much indeed.

“The families of the late Alan Abrahams and Ron Matten are both here tonight.

“Both individuals were generous to leave a legacy for the club.

“We are appreciative of their support and are delighted we could put it to good use in funding our new changing facilities.

“I would also note that Ron’s great grandson Ollie is, at 14, a promising left arm bowler representing the County at his age group and playing in our Second XI.  I am sure Ron would have been proud.

“The tradition of different generations representing this club continues and long may it continue to do so.

“There are others who freely gave their time and expertise to assist in the creation of this facility, Keith Biggs who could not be here offered his legal services, Bill Blake and his son Chris who cannot be here constructed the boundary fence to a high standard and Neil Maude assisted us with planning.

“Finally I would like to recognise Martin Bragg, Pete and Ryan Glass, the practical members of my family who assisted by laying and preparing the wicket and constructing the changing facilities.”

Mr Glass then spoke of the club’s aspirations for the future as a club recognised and respected throughout Devon Leagues for both the quality of teams and facilities.

One of these included the relaunching of a ladies team.

He said: “By far the most precious of our club’s assets is not our facilities but rather our culture.

“In my experience culture far exceeds other criteria in the success of an organisation and here is no exception.

“In this club there has been a longstanding ethos of volunteering, some families and we know who they are, have given astonishing amounts of time to the club, but countless others have contributed over many years.

“We are, of course, seeking to maintain this culture to meet our aspirations.”

After the presentation of gifts, Mr Glass invited Rosie Cheriton, Jill Kinch and Claire Masson, respectively the daughters of Ron and Alan, to cut the ribbon to declare the second pitch open.

Following a countdown the ribbon was cut followed by a loud cheer from the few hundred people present.

Within minutes, play had begun on the second pitch, cattle over the fence intrigued by more cricket to watch!