Last summer, England triumphed in the men’s cricket World Cup leading to national celebration. It was felt by all. Devotees of the sport were joined by those who casually switched on their televisions to witness the heroics of Eoin Morgan and his team, their exploits across the tournament going down to the wire and a Super Over, otherwise known as cricket’s penalty shootout.
It was fitting in Teddington that only a few weeks after England’s success the town would unveil its wonderful new pavilion at Bushy Park. The opening, overseen by the CEO of the England and Wales Cricket Board Tom Harrison, was also blessed with an appearance of the coveted trophy held aloft by England’s players just down the road at Lord’s.
It was a sight that understandably thrilled those in attendance including Teddington Cricket Club members and their families. And it was particularly poignant given county star Eoin Morgan is the national team captain, his leadership qualities also felt at club level where he plies his trade at the town’s historical regional home, Middlesex.
New pavilion befits wonderful location for cricket
Teddington Cricket Club’s new £1.6m pavilion – boasting a BREEAM “excellent” rating for its sustainability and stylish rooftop terrace – might blend harmoniously into its picturesque surroundings but stands out as a beacon to the up-and-comers.
Described by the club as being part of a vision to offer the best facilities to amateur cricketers, its evidence that club members, who contributed a significant proportion of the design and build costs, want to create the best opportunities for grassroots cricket to thrive.
Creating the next England captain may be an ambitious vision but developing quality facilities at grassroots level is where such talent can be nurtured. The national team’s success happened just 25 minutes’ drive away yet the fact the captain has played for local professional team Middlesex since 2006 is perhaps even more influential in attracting the next big star to give the sport a go. Like fellow players Ben Stokes and Joe Root, during the summer Morgan was a national hero.
The next national hero
With the English Cricket Board still hopeful its new competition The Hundred will take place in July, all eyes will be on Morgan as he turns out for London Spirit. The exciting tournament, which will see the world’s top players battling in an exciting new format, will conclude in a Finals Day at Lord’s in August in which Morgan, whose team is currently 8/1 in the cricket betting to win the tournament outright, will hope to feature.
If it proves to be as entertaining as last year’s World Cup, it’ll provide further attention on grassroots cricket at a local and national level. Indeed, the women’s event will take place simultaneously with equal prize money on offer. It means it’s not just the next generation of male cricketers who’ll benefit but the thriving women’s game will also get a boost too.
Meanwhile in Teddington, as cricket resumes at the historical Bushy Park, the local team as well as Radnor House School which will share the facilities will get a chance to enjoy the new pavilion. Matthew Rees, who project-managed the build, said the innovative timber-framed facility befitted this wonderful place to play and watch cricket.