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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Cumbrian cricketers celebrate return to home ground

Cricketers have celebrated a return to their home ground after it was destroyed by floods two years ago.

Threlkeld cricket photo
Club chairman Richard Allen

Players and supporters of Threlkeld Cricket Club gathered on the new pitch on Sunday for the first time – though the first game won’t be played for a few weeks yet.

Situated near Keswick, the tiny village club was destroyed when hundreds of tonnes of stones and toxic gunk spilled across the pitch after a storm filled the neighbouring culvert and caused it to flood.

But rather than take their bat home and hang up their whites, the hardy lads and lasses from Threlkeld went in search of an alternative place to play – and the sport of Extreme Cricket was born.

Venues included mountain tops and underwater, with images of the games being used in a fundraising calendar to help fix their ground.

It was on Friday, June 22 2012 when the bad weather hit – causing the club to cancel its annual summer dance.

The following day the team were stunned to see the level of devastation it caused.

Threlkeld’s oldest first team player, David Jackson, 50, said: “Before the flood we had one of the best playing surfaces in Cumbria. It was heartbreaking to see the pitch – it was wrecked – and we didn’t know how we’d come up with the money to fix it.

“After the initial utter despair, someone suggested making a calendar of us playing cricket in extreme locations. Thankfully the very talented local photographer Stuart Holmes likes both cricket and adventure and he agreed to help.”

Club chairman Richard Allen added: “The flood caused £90,000 worth of damage. At the time our bank balance stood at less than £1,000 and we were unable to claim on our insurance for the damage.”

With the help of photographer Stuart and local PR expert Tara Vallente, who helped them secure publicity both nationally and locally, the calendar became a real hit.

He added: “Both Stuart and Tara are very busy people who didn’t know us and owed us nothing.

“Despite there being zero financial reward they chose to get involved.

“We raised over £40,000 from the calendar, the remaining money came from the English Cricket Board. Thanks to them we have returned our pitch to its pre-flood state in less than two years.”

He went on to thank everyone else who helped make the calendar a success.

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