A state of the art indoor training facility for Eversley Cricket Club
When Cemex applied for permission to extract 650,000 tonnes of sand and gravel from land at Eversley, little did the community know that it would ultimately result in them creating an outstanding sports facility, dramatically increasing the resources available to the local community and beyond.
Eversley Cricket Club formed an alliance with the Eversley and California Football Club creating Eversley Sports Association in 2002 (formally became a charity in 2009) , once excavation and reinstatement was complete Cemex made the land available to the association allowing both clubs to reassess their position and plan for the future. Following an investment of circa £1.5 million the first two phases of the project are now complete, phase one included eight new football pitches, a cricket square and a changing block with phase 2, much to the delight of the Cricket Club, was a brand new state of the art indoor cricket facility.
Prior to the expansion, the cricket club had a single ground with the 2nd ground in neighbouring Crowthorne and the club were barely to accommodate a youth team, now they proudly boast 4 Saturday and 2 Sunday teams, juniors include Colts and girls up to 18 years of age and the Ladies of Eversley are now in their second season.
All cricket clubs aspire to having an indoor training facility and that aspiration was to become a reality for Eversley. The club wanted the best their money could buy, a structure with superior lighting, flooring, netting all done to a very high standard, if they were going to do it they wanted to do it right!
Money was sourced from various funding bodies including local authorities, district and parish councils and local businesses – plus a large grant from the now defunct National Sports Foundation (now part of Sport England) with the balance being raised through a lot of hard work fund raising by the club themselves.
Financially a traditional brick build was unachievable so the search commenced for an alternative. It was the refurbishment of the Ageas Bowl, formally the Rose Bowl in Hampshire, and the inclusion of tension membrane coverings which prompted the team to investigate the benefits of clear span tension membrane buildings and after a little research, it was at this point the club were introduced to Collinson plc, suppliers of, amongst other solutions, tensile sports facilities.
The club visited other sites supplied, erected and fit out by Collinson and were impressed by what they saw and heard and after working with the Collinson team to work out the best specification for the project and order was placed for a structure 42m x 22m x 6.5m.
The build went well, with Collinson supplying the Challenger™ building, including cladding, gutters, down pipes, ventilation, lighting, external walls and doors before handing the building over in April 2009 for the internal fit out which was project managed by the club and once completed they began to reap the rewards of having such a prestigious facility.
The club has benefitted tremendously, the four lane facility accommodates training November through to April and due to last years abysmal weather during May and June the facility meant rain didn’t stop play for Eversley, the members continued training throughout, even hosting matches as the centre incorporates a cage for game playing. Adding another string to their bow, the club are now members of the indoor league which runs from October through to December.
The club utilises the facility 50% of peak time, evening and weekends and have seen an increase in revenue by hiring the club out to other clubs for cricket, other activities including bowling, and keep fit activities with the main emphasis being working with a group called SuperSportz who offer private one to one and group cricket coaching and work closely with local schools and clubs.
Names like; Nick Compton, Monty Panesar and Charlotte Edwards MBE, the current captain of the England women's team regularly train at Eversley, it affirmation that really is the best facility in the area.
When speaking to the England and Wales Cricket Board prior to the build, they were asked what they hoped to achieve from the build, to improve the skill of our cricketers reflecting on the level of cricket the club was playing. This has been achieved with the seniors moving up two divisions in the last three years now playing in the 1st division of the Thames Valley League, as have the juniors now playing in the highest levels of the Hampshire Cricket Leagues, this according to the club can be directly accredited to the ability to train whatever the weather.
The number of young people inclined to participate in sport and exercise is increasing, Eversley Sports Association have made this possible in their area with Cricket Club membership now increased over 200%, over 250 young members (plus a 50 strong waiting list) and 100 seniors the club and the football club with over 400 juniors they have achieved their goal to not only provide a fantastic sporting facility for the youth of the area but for the community as a whole.
Alan Budge, Vice Chairman of the club said ‘The standard of cricket played here at Eversley is outstanding, whilst perhaps not exclusively as a result of the centre it is pretty close to that, by utilising this fantastic facility and having good coaches we give every player young or old the opportunity to excel’ ‘Indoor facilities are few and far between, the savings made by choosing a Collinson building rather than a traditional build made our dream a possibility, a possibility that we as a club made a reality and we will continue to go from strength to strength, with an ever increasing number of Eversley based youngsters representing district and county levels it is only a matter of time before one of them goes onto national honours.’
When the Centre was officially opened in 2012, former England cricketer Devon Malcolm reiterated this when he said Eversley had ‘An outstanding Facility’.