Field of dreams for Cokenach
COKENACH Cricket Club hopes to turn a crop of corn into a field of dreams – with preparation for a new ground well under way. Development on the ground started six weeks ago, behind the current field on the grounds of the Cokenach Estate, in Barkway. Sin
COKENACH Cricket Club hopes to turn a crop of corn into a field of dreams - with preparation for a new ground well under way.
Development on the ground started six weeks ago, behind the current field on the grounds of the Cokenach Estate, in Barkway.
Since 1919 cricket has gone hand-in-hand with the picturesque settings of the estate, with the owner at the time, Douglas Crossman, giving permission for staff and residents to play on his land.
Crossman, who was a member of MCC, even used the services of the Lord's groundsmen to prepare the original square to the exact same size as the famous North London one.
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Since then, Cokenach Cricket Club has continued to grow and for the past few years have sought not just a new field but a clubhouse and pavilion. And together with the estate's current owners, the Holch Povlsens, they have decided to move fields and build new facilities that will give members and visitors a better location to enjoy their cricket.
Club chairman Adrian Cossor said: "Ninety years is a long time, and although the ground has served us well, it is the right time to move on, so we can benefit from the improved facilities.
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"Thankfully we haven't got far to go, and we can actually see our old ground from where the new one will be.
"It's a nice spot and once again it is in a great location. However, the new field will be more visible and accessible to the community and passers by, so hopefully we'll get more people through the gate.
"At the moment we are restricted on how often we can use the current field, but the new one will be available all of the time to both our senior and junior teams.
"As a Focus Club for Cambridgeshire, and having been awarded a Clubmark accreditation last year, we're in negotiations with the ECB, who will hopefully help us fund a new pavilion.
"We're taking big steps to take this club forward and we're entering a very exciting time."
Work has started on a new square, which features an artificial strip for all-weather cricket, and one that will allow the club's juniors to develop their game.
Youth coach and groundsman David Cattley said: "It's like walking on a carpet at the moment - it's taking shape very nicely.
"The company that was originally working on it has previously carried out work at Trent Bridge, so it's little wonder it's looking so good.
"They finished about six weeks ago, and since then it has been my job to look after it.
"I've developed a care programme for it, and it's going very well. There's still quite a lot to do, but I'm confident we will be ready for the spring.
"After so long, the current field has started to deteriorate, so the move is coming at the right time.
"When it is all finished it should be one of the best in the area."
And the players are certainly looking forward to testing themselves on the new field, with vice captain Rob Stone also welcoming the move.
He said: "This is certainly what we need, and it will help increase all aspects of the club - the benefits are enormous. I've been part of the club for 15 years, and in that time I must say that we've struggled to move forward. However, this will do that and open up a number of opportunities.
"And the players can't wait to get out there and give it a go. It looks like it will be a lovely surface."
Estate owner Niels Holch Povlsen said: "We've owned the estate for the past five years, so we'll still getting to know the area. But we understand that cricket is very important.
"We have a good relationship with the cricket club and wanted to give something back to them and the community.
"Danes are not known for their cricket, but I have been trying to get into it more. I like watching and they have been trying to get me to play too - although I think that might take a while!
"The current field is in the middle of some important parkland, and we want to re-establish what it was like back in the 18th century. We want to let it grow and expand its wildlife. That's something that we feel is also very important.
"It's a big development, but our investment is not about the cost it's about what it gives to the community."
Cokenach Cricket Club first team is currently second in the Cambs & Hunts Junior Division 1B, while the seconds are fifth in Division 5C. The club is currently looking for new senior players, anyone interested should contact Rob Stone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Training takes place on Wednesday evenings from 6.30pm onwards at the Cokenach Estate.