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Sports grant was a lifeline for Brighton cricketers

A sports grant became ‘a lifeline’ for a social cricket club in Brighton during coronavirus.

From Press releases - 23 October 2020 12:00 AM

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The Alternatives cricket club netted a £250 Team Sport Award from UK Power Networks to help cover essential costs after subscriptions were halved by a shorter season.

Mathew Score, a lead design engineer at the electricity firm, nominated the club for his employer’s award scheme to help cover the costs of hand sanitisers, cricket balls, kit and insurance.

He said: “This money is a lifeline to our small club and has been invaluable this year. These are very difficult times and the club provided respite for people coming out of lockdown to enjoy a sport they love. Playing cricket has been a tonic for many players. 

“We don’t charge subscriptions for anyone in full-time education and we have had members affected by furlough, who haven’t been able to work. Times have been tough and subscriptions are a luxury.”

This was the third time Mat had secured the grant from his employer, but the funding had never been more important. Mat said: “We were oversubscribed with players, because nobody went away for the summer. It’s a great thing for mental and physical wellbeing to do something you love, in a slightly different format. We had some good games. We won some, we lost some but we enjoyed them all.

“Cricket as we know it has changed quite a bit. We are sanitising the ball, we’re not allowed to get saliva on the ball or get too close to other players. There is no cricket tea and we can’t go into the club house, except to use the facilities. However, the return of cricket was long overdue for a lot of people because it is a social game and we can still be social, in a slightly different way. It’s good for physical and mental wellbeing.”

The team play on public pitches Wish Park, in Hove, Stanley Deason Leisure Centre and Hove Recreation Ground. They usually practice nets at Hove Cricket Club’s headquarters from January onwards, then play Twenty-20 cricket and 40 over cricket matches on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer.

The Team Sport Award scheme is run by UK Power Networks to encourage staff to volunteer in the community and is aimed at promoting healthy living, teamwork and developing sports opportunities. So far this year, more than 70 local sports teams connected to UK Power Networks’ staff have benefitted.