North Tyneside cricket club bowled over by support from local community
One of the North East’s oldest cricket clubs is pointing the way towards post-pandemic recovery following a successful summer on and off the pitch.
Club bosses at Backworth have been bowled over by the support of the community and local businesses following a return to play earlier this year.
And membership at every level has soared with the club’s first team chasing promotion and junior players making their mark on the county scene.
“If you’re talking about cricket’s ability to bounce back after a challenging 18 months then you only have to look at Backworth,” said the club’s junior co-ordinator, James Morgan.
“We’ve always prided ourselves in sitting at the heart of the community and developing young talent. That stood us in good stead for what’s been an incredibly difficult period for everyone associated with grassroots sport.
“Our members, parents, friends and sponsors pulled together to ensure we could hit the ground running this summer.
“And with the season coming to an end I can say with confidence that Backworth is back!”
Based at the picturesque Miners’ Welfare, in the heart of Backworth village, the cricket club celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2024.
The first team played itself into promotion contention this summer following an impressive start to the Northumberland and Tyneside Cricket League Division two campaign.
And Backworth signed a new deal with shirt sponsors Shikara – continuing a proven partnership with the Whitley Bay-based Indian restaurant.
“Our first team is a genuine success story,” added Morgan. “The majority of the players have come through the junior ranks in the last 10-15 years and there’s a real sense of spirit and camaraderie there.
“There’s a core of familiar faces and we’ve managed to add a few new names to the mix for next season.
“In addition, there are always opportunities for the next generation to come through and take their chance.
“I think that’s why we have a long history of nurturing talent and retaining talent at the club.
“Like so many cricket clubs we couldn’t do what we do without the support of sponsors and we really appreciate the backing from the local business community.”
The expansion of the Northumberland Park community and surrounding developments has opened up a new catchment area.
“Many of our members do still live some distance away but we’re finding more and more of our junior players on our doorstep,” added Morgan.
“It’s great to be able to tap into some new areas and discover some exciting new talent.
“We had to cap our All Stars sessions at 30 this year but prior to the pandemic we were regularly getting between 50 and 60 kids coming along on a Saturday morning.
“We’ve run two Under Nine teams all season and there are so many Under 11s looking for a game.
“The Under 13s just keep on winning and the Under 15s finished runners-up to South Northumberland in their league.
“At the other end of the scale the Under 19s continue to provide a conveyor belt of talent into the first and second teams.”
Backworth’s women’s team has grown its membership again this summer.
And plans are in place to enter a girls’ team in the regional Under 14s league next summer.
For more about Backworth Cricket Club email [email protected] or visit www.backworth.play-cricket.com