Club Update: Spring 2024 (Part 2)

Saturday 24th February 2024

Kent Cricket

Club Update: Spring 2024 (Part 2)

Thank you to everyone who dropped me a line to comment and provide feedback on Part 1 of my Spring Update. It’s great to know that Members and supporters are interested and enthusiastic in their support for the Club.

Some of you kindly asked me to express your thanks to all of the Kent Cricket staff and volunteers who work so tirelessly in so many different ways across the Club. Thank you from us all; in the depths of a long Winter, it’s good to know that our efforts are appreciated and are making a positive difference.

Here’s the second part of my update showcasing what we have been up to over the past few months. When I started preparing these Updates, I thought I’d have a few bullet points that would be of interest to Members and Supporters. What has actually happened is that people have expressed a genuine interest in knowing more about the what’s going on behind the scenes at Kent Cricket and the Updates are expanding all the time.

In Part 1 of my Spring Update, I covered the cricketing side of the Club and today I turn now to matters beyond the boundary. There’s so much to tell you about in this area and so much good work going across the Club so keep things manageable, I’ve decided to split the remaining Spring Update into two; so now there’s not just a Part 2 today but a Part 3 to follow.

Spring Update Part 2 now covers the wider operation of the Club; from Winter ground development projects to the Cricket4London initiative and our Kent Cricket Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan.

In Part 3 – which will be released early next week – I’ll provide my reflections on some of the long-term opportunities and challenges facing Kent Cricket in a final but important Update.

Please do keep sending in the questions and comments; I read them all and they are a useful barometer of Members’ and supporters and views.

Winter Ground Development

In a normal year, we spend a combined total of at least £200,000 on Facilities and Maintenance Repairs, Renewals and Cleaning across our Canterbury and Beckenham sites. On top of that, our total Utilities bills – electricity, gas & water – exceeded £250,000 in 2023. With Membership income standing at around £360,000 and Ticket sales in the region of £500,000, we’re hugely reliant on ECB income derived primarily from the broadcast deal to fund ongoing development of the ground.

This year, our focus has been in two key areas; ensuring that we comply with the ever-increasing minimum standards for First-Class County cricket grounds and creating a welcoming venue for everyone in our community. These initiatives are included within our County Partnership Agreement with ECB and also reflect our response to the findings of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) Report.

Over the Winter, we’ve created new coaching and umpiring facilities at The Spitfire Ground. The construction works was carried out by our commercial Elite Partners, WW Martin Ltd., and has provided a new coaches’ facility in the Frank Woolley Stand, as well as changing facilities for both male & female umpires.

We’ve been able to achieve this by utilising space left from seating at the back of the stand that was rarely used on matchdays. As well as ensuring that we meet ECB standards for hosting Men’s and Women’s matches, the creation of a new coaches facility has in-turn freed-up space in the Ames Levett Indoor School for us to install a Quiet Room for use by faith groups and those with sensory conditions such as autism.

We’re passionate in our work to continue creating a welcoming environment for everyone at our venues, and this Multi-Faith Quiet Room project continues the work we started out last year when we installed a new Accessible Viewing Platform and Changing Places facility next to the Les Ames stand. We hope that this work continues to keep us at the forefront of making cricket an accessible sport for all to watch.


We’re conscious of our responsibility to make Kent Cricket’s venues as sustainable as possible. We talk about encouraging “clean growth” throughout the business which is designed to minimise our environmental impact.

Our multi-award-winning Ground Staff use best practice in sustainable methods of grounds care, and I’m constantly impressed by the care, creativity and innovation that they put into their work.

Please do go and have a look at the area by the Colin Blythe Memorial to the rear of the Leslie Ames Stand, where Adrian and the team are encouraging the growth of wild flowers. Whilst exploring this beautiful area, look up for nest boxes and watch out for the visiting blue tits and other birds that are benefitting from the team’s work. The latest project around the ground is a ‘KCCC’ wordmark, situated by the Nackington Road gates next to the memorial bricks. I’m sure you’ll agree that Adrian and the team are doing a terrific job and their dedication to the ground – on the pitch and beyond the boundary – is unquestionable.


Our catering partnership with Sodexo Live! delivers important additional income for the Club generating revenues from matchdays and non-matchday events. Our joint venture with Sodexo Live! generated over £1.2m of sales in 2023 which was an exceptional effort. Make no bones about it; this is a tough environment of rising food and labour costs and ever- increasing red tape.

The fact that this joint venture delivered a surplus of £85,000 to the Club was the result of a huge amount of hard work – getting the balance of cost control, targeted investment and recruitment of good people.

The Sodexo Live! team is led by GM/Head Chef, Nigel Bell, who has worked with the Club in various catering and hospitality roles for over 20 years. Nigel is Kent Cricket through and through, and leads a hard-working team who are always looking to improve the experience and service that visitors receive at Canterbury and Beckenham. We’re shortly going to announce the appointment of new catering operations lead at Beckenham who will take us forward through summer 2024. I’d like to thank Salvatore Notturno for his work during his time at Beckenham and wish him well for the future.

We firmly believe that our catering businesses at Canterbury and Beckenham have more room for growth. With this in mind, and with strong commitment from both Sodexo! Live and Kent Cricket leadership, we agreed a three-year extension to our catering partnership contract until the end of the 2026 season.


2023 saw the launch of an innovative new initiative that brings together the four first-class counties that cover the London Boroughs under one ‘Cricket4London‘ banner.

Over 1.2 million people live within the four “Metropolitan Kent” London Boroughs of Bromley, Bexley, Lewisham & Greenwich. By bringing together previously fragmented initiatives and taking a more flexible approach to once-rigid county boundaries, we can give more sporting opportunities to young Londoners. This also opens up the potential to uncover talented players for the future from these areas.

We already have two talented coaches, Asher Roberts & Christian Rice, delivering Cricket4London projects on behalf of Kent Cricket in these areas. This work directly some of the challenges highlighted by the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) Report and we’ll be working with a variety of local partners such as the ACE Programme & Platform to provide more opportunities for cricket.

West Indies at Beckenham

Given the focus that our work with Cricket4London has given us on the role of Beckenham, we were especially delighted to be able to announce this week that The County Ground has been selected as the venue to host the West Indies Men’s Test team play a First-Class Counties Select XI in the final warm-up match before their Test series with England that begins at Lord’s the week after.

This is the first time that a touring West Indies Test side has played at Beckenham and offers sports fans in South East London a great opportunity to watch the West Indies international cricket stars in action.

Asher and Christian, working in partnership with the ACE Programme & Cricket4London, will be running a variety of activities around the ground during the match. More details on these will be coming shortly.

Entry to FCC Select XI vs. West Indies is also included in all 2024 Kent Cricket Memberships.

Buy your West Indies tickets here

Kent Cricket’s Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan 2024

As part of the game-wide response to Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) Report, the Club implemented our EDI Action Plan in 2023 and this is being updated for 2024.

At the time of its publication, Kent Cricket welcomed the ICEC Report and made some important commitments. The evidence gained from the ICEC Report shows that historical and structural issues exist across cricket, indeed they exist in many sports and in many parts of society. Our Kent Cricket EDI Action Plan demonstrates our determination to try and improve this. We have a responsibility to lead the change and positively impact not just cricket but society as a whole.

I’m grateful to our EDI Advisor, Susan Rooney, and Omolola Oshinlaja our HR Manager, who are leading this work at an executive level, and to Laura Tough and Jasmine Dumasia who head up our EDI Steering Group at Board level. I’d also like to acknowledge the work of all of our staff and volunteers across the game who have acknowledged the need for change and have set their sights on opening up the game of cricket to everyone across Kent.

Countdown to the new season

At the time of writing, we have just 41 days until our opening match of the County Championship season against Somerset on Friday 5 April. After the final day drama last September, the gates of The Spitfire Ground will be re-opening for Division One cricket once again. I look forward to welcoming you back.

In the meantime, I hope to see as many Members as possible here at The Spitfire Ground for the AGM on Tuesday 26 March starting at 7pm, with a complimentary pre-AGM dinner available from 6pm.

You’ll have seen that last week, match tickets went on sale for the 2024 season – we’ve seen some good early signs that our matches will be popular Summer events for people in our county.

You can get your 2024 match tickets here, with Six Pack Ticket Bundles also available.

Simon Storey
Kent Cricket CEO

Read Part 1 here

Read Part 3 here