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Historic cricket club needs new recruits to keep going

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Eastington have launched an urgent appeal for new members to become involved with the club – both on and off the pitch.

Cricket has been played by the village, close to Stonehouse, for some 156 years but new blood is desperately required for that heritage to continue.

Eastington currently run only one Saturday side, in the Premier Division of the Stroud League. But putting out a complete side continues to be a weekly battle for captain Paul Hancock who, with the dedicated Brian Wright, also heads up the club’s wicket preparation team.

Paul, who played his first game for the club 30 summers ago as a 13-year-old, said: “We’re really keen to attract new members, both on the playing side and to help on the ground and with the square.

“We will get through this season but it’s hard work. We have a hard core of about 10 who play most of the matches, including Roger Beese who captains Gloucestershire Over 70s.

“We managed to pick up a couple of new players this season, mates of mates if you like, and that will keep us going.

“But we would love to welcome some more new players down here … it’s a lovely place to play and we’re a friendly bunch!”

Eastington has also traditionally been a family club. Brian Wright, for example, followed in the footsteps of his father who began playing in 1971, and there were once so many Wrights on the scene that they were able to select a complete XI against Eastington!

Paul, too, caught the cricket bug from his father Robert to join the club, and for many seasons has been backing up his loyalty to play with committing dozens of hours every summer to work on the ground.

But he added: “Family life and work means I won’t be able to carry on with the ground work, and that makes me worry.

“We’re sure there must be people who live locally who might be recently retired and would like to become involved and spend some time here helping out.

“Or maybe new people who have moved to the area and are looking to become involved with a club – we would love to hear from them.”

Chair Keith Dench , aged 78, joined Eastington all the way back in 1968 and has seen plenty of change to the local cricketing landscape in those 56 years.

He said: “I’ve been back through some old scorebooks, and of the 42 clubs from this area we’ve played in that time I calculate that 26 are now gone.”

Paul, Keith and the rest of the club’s hardy band are determined that Eastington will not join that list.

Anyone interested in joining Eastington can contact Paul on 07793 145254 or via email: paul@hancockonline.co.uk

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