Norwich & Coltishall Wanderers, Ashmanhaugh and Worstead Cricket Clubs merge to become Ashmanhaugh and Barton Wanderers
A trio of Norfolk clubs have joined forces to provide fresh hope of future success.
Norwich & Coltishall Wanderers, Ashmanhaugh and Worstead Cricket Clubs have merged to become Ashmanhaugh and Barton Wanderers – and the new club have already picked up their first silverware, before the season even gets underway.
Club secretary Nigel Rudd said: 'Like a number of clubs in the county and across the country, the three clubs were finding it difficult to run enough sides to manage and develop the youth sections properly. Also it's a case of having enough people in the administration roles to keep the clubs moving forward.
'We made some enquiries and by pulling together we have found an answer. Of course it won't solve every single problem, but it provides us with a much wider and more solid base for the future.
'We are quite excited about it. It is a sensible move and I believe there will be more mergers between clubs in the future.'
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The club will run three teams on a Saturday – in the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division and Division Four and in Norfolk League Division Three – with one team in the Mid Norfolk Sunday League, as well as entering the Sunday cup competitions. They will also run teams from under-nine to U17 level for their 100 youth members and last week an U12s side representing the club won the Norfolk stages of a Lords Taverners event.
Rudd added: 'It looks a much better package and we can offer cricket at all levels for all ages. Of course we are still looking for new players and we still need a player/coach. We would prefer to find someone locally, but we will look at an overseas coach if needed.'
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The first team will play their matches at Barton Turf, with the second team alternating between Barton Turf and Ashmanhaugh and the third team using Ashmanhaugh and Coltishall.
Jeremy Pilch will captain the Premier Division side, with Bernie Everett leading the second team and Kevin Fisher in charge of the thirds, while Alex Browne is the Sunday league captain.
The merger has secured the future of Wanderers ahead of their centenary season next year and Rudd added: 'I would go so far to say it was an essential move for the club. Something needed to change in order to be ready for the next few years.
'We have been very fortunate to have got together with some like-minded clubs to create something which will serve us well in the future.'
The club are holding indoor net sessions at Norwich School every Wednesday until the middle of April from 6.15pm.
Anyone interested in joining the club as a player/coach should contact Nigel Rudd on 07980 861030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.