Published: 23rd June, 2020
Recreational cricket, like so much else, has been suspended during the Covid 19 crisis but some Surrey clubs have been busy assisting those around them, as Richard Spiller found out.
Cricket teas have been in short supply this year – just like the matches they adorn.
But Merstham Cricket Club have come up with a glorious alternative which has seen them help the community around them.
They have staged a series of Covid-19 cricket teas with a difference, where members and friends drop food and essential supplies into the club – at their appropriately named Quality Street headquarters – for delivery to local food banks and the nearby Stripey Stork charity, which supports Surrey families in need through recycling items for babies and children.
“It’s an opportunity for the club to help the community around us and everyone has rallied round superbly,” said chairman Richard Feist, who alongside brother Dan also helps deliver the goods to those who are shielding or isolated.
The food banks at St Matthew’s Church and Redhill & Merstham Mixed Café (Loveworks) have been grateful for donations from the Fuller’s Brewery League Premier Division club, which included tinned food, biscuits, pasta, tea & coffee and toiletries.
Feist added: “Although members haven’t been able to stay at the club for tea when they deliver the goods, it’s been a great opportunity to keep in touch with each other. We’re hoping we’ll be able to start playing again soon but that doesn’t mean we’ll be forgetting about our friends because we’re aware this crisis isn’t something which is going to disappear overnight.”
Another club who have helped out are Dorking, who raised £988 for the Dorking Community Fridge.
Fellow Surrey Championship club Esher had an innovative way of getting stuck in. Chairman Geoff Ellis explains: “We asked the junior players what they wanted to do to make a contribution during the crisis. What came through was their enthusiasm to help a local cause and disabled cricketers.
“So during the Whitsun half-term we set up a challenge we called ‘Move 4 Esher’.”
Over nine days, the girls and boys of Esher were divided into four groups to challenge each other – to add a competitive element – over nine days to run, cycle and row as many miles as they could, with results registered on the Strava app.
Using their New Road as a drop-off point for food contributions and adding donations from other members, the funds they raised – more than £1,000 – were divided between the Lord’s Taverners, East Elmbridge Foodbank and the club.
“We’ll be doing more food collections and it’s something where club members have worked really well together,” said Ellis. “One lad cycled 190 miles, which is a fantastic effort.”
Photograph taken from www.mersthamcc.co.uk.