Teamsports |News

Heartbreaking call to halt club’s days

THE chairman ofHollingbourne Cricket Club admits it “breaks myheart” to realise the clubis on its last legs – but knows it is the right decision. The club has pulled out of its

Marden 2nd XI are one of eight senior teams at the club

Hockey’s at the heart of the hub

MARDEN has a sporting hub where hockey, cricket and tennis share a venue. The club has moved to a new

premises inMaidstone Road in the village, with the tennis club merg- ing in at the newfacility. The hockey team, Marden Rus-

setts, have had problems, but are now back to five men’s teams alongside threewomen’s sides. Chairman Neil Campbell said:

“I’ve not beenwith the hockey club that long, but in the seven or eight years I’ve been here, we have grown as a club.” As with many clubs, they have

invested in youth, and are always looking to push the youngsters for- ward. The newfacilities,which opened

in September 2017, are playing a big part too. “We have tried to build links

with the local schools andwe have a large junior section,”Neil added. “We have also got brand newfacil- ities and I think thatwe really ben- efit from having a nice place to play hockey, it’s a bit of a magnet for people. “We’ve run schemes like Back to

Hockey and they have proven very popular, and that has especillay helped to growour ladies’ section. “We try to get the juniors in-

volved in senior hockey. By 14 or 15wewould havemost of our bet- ter players playing adult hockey and the hope then is that by the age of 17 or 18 they will be ready to play at first teamlevel.”

league fixtures for this season, leaving just a smattering of one- off games for the rest of the year, alongwith someU17 games. Ian Gutteridge feels that there

are simply not enough players to go around. “I’ve been saying for three

years that there are too many clubs, there are just not enough cricketers for all the clubs. “We’ve been left with 12 play-

ers for various reasons and on any given weekend you can as- sume that more than a third of your players won’t be available, so we’ve decided to pull out of the league.” Hollingbournewas in theKent

Cricket Village League, which is played on Saturdays by teams mainly in the Maidstone and Tonbridge regions. Several of theplayershavenow

linked up with nearby Bearsted, and that link up does, Ian hopes, mean there is still a chance that cricket can be played at Holling- bourne’s PilgrimsWay ground. “Bearsted are now considering

putting another team out,” he added. “But obviously they only have one pitch, so hopefully if they end up needing a ground, they can use ours.

“We can afford to keep up the

ground up for the rest of this sea- son, but after that who knows whatwill happen to it? “It breaks my heart. The club

has been my life for the past 25 years. I met my wife through playing forHollingbourne.

cricketers for all the clubs Ian Gutteridge, Hollingbourne Cricket Club

vestedinthe clubandthat’swhat makes it such a hard decision – if it had been a business, I would havemade this call a year ago.” Ian admits that the nature of

“ ” Parkrun thriving as runners take to the Lakes

WHILE teamsports are having their issues, the desire for health and fit- ness has led to a sharp rise in run- ning and walking. Somemay have swapped their tra-

ditional commute for going on foot, while many others have taken ad- vantage of programmes like theNHS Couch to 5k scheme in order to take up running. And when they have completed

that – or, in fact, even during the pro- gramme – there is a free 5k event every Saturdaymorning. Parkrun was founded in 2004 in

Teddington, south-west London, and has now spread to 19 countries across theworld. In theUK, between 130,000 and 140,000 people are taking part everyweek. Locally, there are two. The Maidstone parkrun starts and finishes close to Kent Life, while the Malling parkrun is at Ley- bourne Lakes.

Both start at 9amevery Saturday,

and are open to all. “There has been a real push in the

past 12 to 18 months to make it more inclusive,” Malling parkrun co- event director Darran Potter says. “Whereas we used to have tail run- ners and new runner’s briefings, it’s now tail walker and first-timers. “There is a big emphasis on walk-

ing and jogging and making sure that everyone feels able to do it – there’s been a real concerted effort fromHQ. “Parkrun is very low commitment,

you can just wake up on a Saturday and decide you want to take part, and if you miss a week, it’s not the end of the world.” The first Malling parkrun was in

October 2015, and since then 4,803 different people – at the time of going to press – have run, jogged or walked the course. The all-time

record attendance is 2,526 at a run in South Africa in January this year, whileBushy Park,home of the original run in 2004, regularly reaches four fig- ures, and holds the UK record with 1,705 taking part on the tenth an- niversary parkrun. There are even some events held in the grounds of prisons, illustrating that parkrun really is for everyone. “You get people of all ages, all

shapes and sizes,”Darran adds. “One of our regular runners is in his late 70s and we’ve also had a few octo- genarians visit us fromother courses. “I think when you see people of

that age still in good shape it can in- spire you. There are 12,000 volun- teers in the UK who make parkrun possible everyweek, and 10,000 new runners are registering every week, so it really is a big thing.”

Maidstone East July 2018 19

cricket makes it hard for people to commit, and that some of the fun has gone out of it due to the over-competitiveness of some other clubs. He also believes that the prob-

lems stemfromschool cricket. “It is hard work, cricket is so

time-consuming, it’s a long- drawn-out event,”he said.People have families and commitments. “Forme, the problemis in sec-

ondary schools. The ECB shouts about Chance to Shine and the great stuff they do in primary schools, but once you get to sec- ondary school, unless it’s a gram- mar school or aprivate school, the kids fall out of the game.”

There are too many clubs, there are just not enough

“I’ve got a lot of emotion in-

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