I had an enjoyable day at Beckenham on Monday. It was great to see the first cricket of the year – albeit a friendly fixture. There is something about cricket in spring – so full of hope and expectation. It is this time of year that I suffer, like many I expect, from seasonal optimism disorder. The thing that keeps all sports fans returning to support their teams year after year. There is no point fighting it – it is one of the reasons why sport is such a wonderful thing.
It feels like it has been a long winter this year. I guess it is because we have been flat out with the ground redevelopment, and so much has happened. The following is a list of many of the things that we have worked on:
Annexe Upper and Lower refurbishment
Press Room – expanded and refurbishment
Players’ Dining Area and kitchen upgraded
Dressing Room upgrade, including Coaches, Ice Baths, Analysts’ area and Physio treatment rooms
Pavilion – second floor extension for away dressing room
Pavilion Ground Floor refurbishment and the refurbishment of Member seating for 250
Cowdrey Stand, Harris and Cornwallis refurbished and new Seminar Room established on ground floor
Les Ames Building refurbishment including 8 new Corporate Box spaces and new public bar (including Jonesy’s Kitchen)
Landscaping including new viewing banks
New signage throughout the ground
Nursery Ground – work on off-site nursery ground at Polo Farm has commenced
Indoor School – expanded the Physio Department
Tractor Shed – New roadway access and a compactor to reduce waste collection and storage
Sky Sports Parking Area – new concrete area by Astro Pitch to house Sky Sports crew
Newly configured Nackington Road and Old Dover Road entrances
Service infrastructure improved for Gas, Electric, Sewerage, Water and Telephone
New IT fibre optic cabling around the whole St Lawrence site
TV/Audio installed including new flat screen TVs in all public and Member areas and enhanced audio system throughout ground
Scoreboards – Les Ames Scoreboard fully cleaned and serviced and a new electronic Scoreboard on Old Dover Road side of ground
Floodlights – installed
Control Room – a temporary Match Control Room by the Lime Tree established
Quite a list and it is not exhaustive. Couple this with a new Sales & Marketing approach and membership repackaging – it has been a hectic time. I must say thank you to the Club Staff and also those working on the project. Everyone has “bust a gut” this winter to ensure the Club and its facilities are in good shape for 2011. I am very proud of their efforts, there is much still to be done, but we have made great progress.
Whilst the redevelopment of the ground is extremely exciting and will leave the Club with markedly improved facilities, it is worth remembering that the driver for it all is cricket. There is much talk of finances and revenue generation in the game at the moment, but of course this is because all of us “administrators” are fighting hard to safeguard the long term future of County Cricket. It is why I believe in Twenty20 cricket – not because I dislike Championship Cricket, quite the opposite. If the right balance can be achieved, it simply offers the best chance of ensuring the long term survival of all forms of cricket.
England’s roller-coaster ride of a World Cup is over – it was fun while it lasted. An Indian v Sri Lanka Final would now be my choice, with Sachin scoring his 100th hundred to win the World Cup in Mumbai, what a story that would be, but I guess that is the incurable optimist in me.