Tetbury are once again looking to the future with plenty of hope after surviving one of the toughest seasons in their 171-year history.
Officials reckon the covid crisis last year led to a drop in income close to £20,000 – a staggering amount of money for a club that has always prided itself on being self-sufficent, sparking fears that youth initiatives might have to be scaled back as well as much needed investment in facilities.
But a Crowdfunder appeal raised a superb £11,000 which was further boosted by £10,000 from Sport England along with £1,000 from the Gloucestershire Playing Fields Association and £500 from Tetbury Lions.
And that has allowed the club to replace their 20-year-old artificial wicket and refurbish and repaint their roller while there was enough cash left over to purchase new sight screens!
The new artificial wicket is now ready for use, perfect timing as Tetbury’s fast-growing youth section and new ladies soft ball team prepare for a busy summer of fixtures.
Chairman Paul Jones said: “Last year was hard going … it was difficult to attract sponsorship, we had only a third of the usual number of matches and there was no bar revenue.
“We knew that major investment in our facilities was needed. The old artificial was 20 years old and had done its job but we really needed a new one so we’re very pleased to get this done as it’s going to be used a lot.
“Improving facilities is key to everything we want to achieve as a club. That’s why it was also important to sort out our roller to make sure we have a decent square – we’re very grateful to Auto-Roller for their help.”
Tetbury run two Saturday sides, a mixed under-9s plus girls and boys teams at both under-11s and under-13s. The women’s soft ball team has been up and running for only a couple of weeks but more than 20 locals have already taken part in practice sessions so there is clearly plenty of scope for further growth.
The recreation facilities used by the club and the neighbouring village hall are also about to be redeveloped, further adding to the energetic atmosphere in this beautiful corner of Gloucestershire.
Paul added: “We’ve set ourselves a target of getting our first team up from Division Three to Division One in the County League while we’re close to being able to get three teams out on a Saturday.
“We’re also looking at the possibility of putting out an over 50s side on a few Sundays.”
Main image, left to right: Tetbury social secretary Frankie Sharp, first team captain Alex Evans, chairman Paul Jones, ladies player Amy Moss and youth committee representative Sam Tuley with the club’s new artificial wicket.