CRICKET: The end of an era

This Is Wiltshire: Westinghouse captain Chris Grace admits a lack of players has forced the folding of the club Westinghouse captain Chris Grace admits a lack of players has forced the folding of the club

WESTINGHOUSE cricket club chairman Phil Meek says he was astonished by the avalanche of supportive messages flooding in after his club announced the end of their 77-year history last week.

The Chippenham club, who ran two teams in the Wiltshire Cricket League and whose first team played in the West of England Premier League between 2006 and 2009, have been forced to fold after a shortfall of troops left them with just five registered players.

Westinghouse were due to move to a new base at Allington Field to make way for Linden Homes’ proposed housing development on the Westinghouse playing fields but Meek says that his club were left with no option but to call time on their existence.

“It hasn’t been a snap decision and we probably could have folded at the end of last season,” he said.

“We really wanted to give it a go for the summer – but we ended up with just five players committed to the club.

“We haven’t had a youth system for a few seasons now and we’ve struggled not being able to bring those young players into the team.

“People have left us and because our history is as a company team (the club spawned from the Westinghouse Brake & Signal Company), people searching for cricket in Chippenham online would automatically be directed to Chippenham Cricket Club.

“I’ve been at the club for 20 years and I remember back when you were playing for Westinghouse and you could see the bowls club and the tennis courts all being used.

“They’re all gone now and the place had got a bit soulless, which I think also contributed.

“Ultimately, it came down to not having the players and it’s really sad, but the response on social media has been fantastic.

“We’ve had other clubs tweeting us to say how sad they are to hear about Westinghouse folding and how our players would be welcome to join them.

“I always wanted to play with mates and it’s going to be strange to play against them for other teams but maybe one day we can re-form the club in some guise.”

Westinghouse captain Chris Grace added: “We’d probably lost two teams’ worth of players over the last two seasons and the writing was on the wall when it came to last year’s end of season do. We ended up having to cancel it because there weren’t enough people interested in coming.

“Cricket is a time-consuming and expensive sport and I think that had a lot to do with people deciding to spend more time with their families. We’ve just didn’t bring the young players through.

“I’ve been at Westinghouse since I was 12. My dad (Nigel) and my brother (Paul) both played there and you think about your own son going to play there.’’

  • WILTSHIRE have included Potterne's summer signing Ed Young in their line-up as they begin their preparations for the 2014 season with a 50-over friendly clash against a Gloucestershire 2nd XI at South Wilts CC on Sunday (11am).

Young, himself a former Gloucestershire all-rounder, has joined Potterne for the 2014 summer season and comes into a side captained by Michael Coles, of Corsham.

South Wilts’ James Hayward returns to the side after missing three seasons.

Wiltshire: Michael Coles (Corsham, captain), Tahir Afridi (Henley), Tom Alsop (Hampshire Academy), Joe Breet (Lechlade), Neil Clark (Potterne), Tom Foley (Corsham), James Hayward (South Wilts), Ed Kilbee (Goatacre), Adam Miles (Cardiff, wicketkeeper), Ashur Morrison (Corsham), Jack Mynott (South Wilts), Jake Roberts (Potterne), Ed Young (Potterne).

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