By Charles Randall
9 May 2013
The England and Wales Cricket Board have announced that they intend to invest £96 million in community cricket in the next four years after a memorandum of understanding was signed with the ECB’s Recreational Assembly.
This memorandum was agreed during a day of meetings at the Kia Oval before the ECB’s annual meeting. This followed a period of unprecedented ECB financial assistance to club cricket after the 2012 floods in addition to the focus on recreational cricket through the 2009 four-year plan called Grounds To Play.
The ECB chairman Giles Clarke commented: "There is no doubt that we have faced challenges in the last year and in particular the awful weather of 2012, which severely damaged our facilities and club cricket. I have been amazed and delighted at the number of clubs that could continue playing through such terrible conditions, and in the first class game the amount of cricket that was staged is a testimony to the decision to invest in such effective drainage systems. ECB and Sport England have provided emergency funding, but we know that it will take a number of years for some clubs to recover from last year's extreme weather."
Last summer the ECB and Sport England found more than £200,000 between them to help clubs damaged by flooding, and when more floods returned in the winter the ECB produced £420,000 of additional emergency funding in January. This was an impressive effort greatly appreciated by the recreational cricket community.
Clarke added that the first class game was "in excellent shape", with the exciting programme of matches in 2013, most notably the Ashes. He said: "We have a wonderful opportunity to further build on the success of the first two strategic plans. What the last few years have shown is that much can be achieved on and off the field with strategic, well thought out and robust plans implemented by a dedicated, successful and strong management who make excellent business decisions."
At the annual meeting Jane Stichbury and Baroness Flint were re-elected as independent members to the ECB Board and the election of Richard Thompson (Surrey) and Andy Nash (Somerset) was confirmed.