Hardingham building for a bright future
Phil BanyardThe good news keeps on coming for Hardingham Cricket Club, who have enjoyed a dream start to the season. After winning their first ever Norfolk Alliance match on the opening weekend, they made a memorable Carter Cup debut last Sunday, beating a side three divisions above them, Beccles.Phil Banyard
The good news keeps on coming for Hardingham Cricket Club, who have enjoyed a dream start to the season.
After winning their first ever Norfolk Alliance match on the opening weekend, they made a memorable Carter Cup debut last Sunday, beating a side three divisions above them, Beccles. And to cap it all, the club now have all the funding in place for a new �32,000 pavilion at their picturesque ground.
Club stalwart and treasurer Stan Fowle said: "Expectations at the start of the year were to consolidate having gone up a level. We've got basically the same side as last year, with seven players under the age of 21 and the plan was to find our feet and have a go next year.
"To win the first game in the league was no mean feat, but to follow it up with a very good performance in the Carter Cup was very pleasing. After that I think the goalposts have moved a little bit and our captain, Barney Goodrum, thinks that realistically, if we keep the same side and don't have any injuries, we should be aiming for the top three. Expectations have certainly risen slightly higher, although we have a testing game against Narborough this weekend which will be a real challenge."
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While Goodrum is an experienced hand on the tiller having played for Horsford, Cromer and Swardeston, it is his son, 18-year-old all-rounder Oli Howes, who has been one of the club's most consistent performers over the past year and he was named the Norfolk League's Under-19 batsman of the season in 2009. Andy Duckham, 21, is another youngster in form after hitting 91no in the Carter Cup, while seamer Stephen Burt shows plenty of promise in a bowling attack led by the captain's brother, Jason Goodrum.
The new pavilion has been grant-funded with contributions from Norfolk County Council's Youth Fund, Breckland District Council and the Paul Bassham Charitable Trust. Fowle added: "All the funding is now in place, work will start in September and it will be ready for next season."
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It is all a far cry from the early part of the century, when Hardingham came close to folding because of a lack of players. Fowle said: "It was pretty close, but we had a committee meeting and decided we had to do something about it and that the way forward was to try and attract some youngsters.
"We were fortunate that we got some good quality young players and quite a few of those are now playing in the first team."
That focus on youth has continued and the club now boasts a healthy junior section, allowing them to run three teams on a Saturday and two Sunday sides.
Fowle believes it is no coincidence that the club have made such a strong start: "The lads have all geared themselves up for it and we've been netting since January," he said. "We've found starting that early is invaluable in terms of getting your mind and your feet going well, so that when the season starts you are well prepared and can hit the ground running.
"When you step up a level you have to raise your game and find an extra 5pc and so far the lads have taken to it very well."