Diss Cricket Club celebrate 150th anniversary with new team at the helm

Diss players celebrate a wicket against Ashmanhaugh & Barton Wanderers.

Diss players celebrate a wicket against Ashmanhaugh & Barton Wanderers. - Credit: Archant © 2013

Diss are celebrating the past by looking to the future as they mark the club's 150th anniversary this season.

The Rectory Meadow-based club have a new team at the helm, with Martin Fairweather and Doug Young taking over as chairman and vice-chairman respectively.

Both played for Diss in the late 1980s and have become involved again in recent years as their sons play at the club.

The duo have been tasked with providing a new direction for Diss – and the early signs are that they are having a positive impact.

'The club had been run by a group of people for a number of years and I think they realised they had taken it as far as they could,' said Fairweather. 'They were looking for new blood to take the club forward and they approached me last summer to inject some new impetus. Although it is a big task, I was happy to take it on because I consider the club to be a sleeping giant in terms of the catchment area we are in.

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'If the club can be steered in the right direction then hopefully the success of the first team can be mirrored throughout the club.'

At the heart of Fairweather and Young's plans is a desire to promote youth cricket at Diss: 'We had maybe taken our eye off the ball in terms of being aware of what a club needs to do in the 21st century,' said Fairweather. 'Other smaller clubs in the area have been more pro-active in getting children into their youth set-ups and that's what we are putting right. We don't just want to tell people about it, we want to prove it by investing in the latest facilities.'

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The club have already purchased a new tractor and gang mowers to improve the outfield and next year Diss are hoping to install a new two-bay practice net for the benefit of seniors and juniors alike.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary, this weekend club members will gather at the ground for an aerial photograph taken from an elevated platform.

The main focus of the celebrations will be a one-day festival on the August Bank Holiday weekend, with a marquee at the ground, past players invited to attend, and a match followed by entertainment in the evening.

One thing that Fairweather is not planning to change is the club's refusal to recruit a paid professional. They are now the only Alliance Premier Division club to adopt that policy and Fairweather said: 'You could identify it as our weakness, but equally you could say it is our strength. The bond between our players without a paid professional makes us a stronger unit. It's so far off the radar that it's something we haven't even discussed, but I think we are happy achieving what we are achieving at the moment.'

Diss made a belated, but flying, start to the season last weekend by beating Ashmanhaugh & Barton Wanderers and tomorrow they travel to face champions Norwich at Ingham.

Fairweather added: 'What really struck me last weekend was that we've got 11 players in the team who can bat very well and the majority of them can also bowl very well. It's a remarkable set-up because we have all bases covered.'

In the East Anglian Premier League tomorrow, Swardeston and Vauxhall Mallards are at home, to Sudbury and Cambridge Granta respectively.

Horsford are the first of the Norfolk contingent to visit newcomers Woolpit and Great Witchingham travel to Saffron Walden.

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