SOUTHWICK Cricket Club chairman Adam Walter fears for the future of the club as they are struggling to raise enough players to field two teams each week.
The club, who have played in the town since 1790, do not have a colts section to call upon and three times this season, the club’s 2nd XI have already conceded matches through a lack of players.
They are now calling on anyone who wants to play for the club to get in touch. The team’s first XI play in Division 1 of the West Sussex Invitation League, with the second XI in Division 4 and Walter is concerned about how long the club can keep going, unless new players come into the club.
Both teams have struggled this year for numbers and sit near the bottom of their respective tables and Walter said: “There’s two age groups in the club, really. People who are in their mid-to-late 20s or early 30s – who are getting married, having babies, that type of stuff, and people in their 50s, who say every year that it could be their last season.
“There’s a few people inbetween as well but we haven’t got a colts set-up to call upon.
“Four of our players had babies in the winter, another couple got married and that’s put real pressure on the club as they’re not playing this summer.
“Some people are taking a summer off but, if they don’t play a game or two to help us out this year, there might not be a club next season.
“One weekend this season, we had 25 people unavailable. The club was formed in 1790 and I’m sure there must have been such problems like this in the past. But we need to do something about it now.
“We just need new players to come into the club – people who aren’t playing at other clubs, people who used to play for us and want to get back playing again, anyone who wants to be involved– we just want to be able to fulfil our fixtures for the rest of the season and get ourselves into a position where we can still run two teams next year.
“We want to make people realise that, even if they only play a game or two for us this year, it could be enough to keep the club going as we’ve got ourselves into a bit of a pickle this year.
“If the 2nd XI concede four matches this year – they’ve scratched three already – then they’ll be called in front of the league
“If they’re happy with what we say, the side could stay in the league. If not, they’ll be kicked out of the league, which would cause problems for our 1st XI as you can’t play in Division 1 when you only have one side.”
“Myself and the committee fear for the club – the weather didn’t help at the start of the season as it didn’t really get up and running properly.”
On the possibility of getting a colts section again, Walter, who is stepping down as chairman after eight years at the end of the season, said: “We’ve had some training going on Friday evenings, although that’s more of a loose arrangement done by someone who lives near Southwick Green.
“We don’t really have any first team players involved in colts set-ups, while you look at Portslade and most of their first team are helping out.
“We haven’t had a steady supply of colts coming through – the last who did were Russell Martin, Paul Grennan, Chris Summers and Dan Feniuk and that was 10 years ago and we’re seeing the impact of that now
“We need to start bringing players through and that’s what we have to do to keep the club going.”
Anyone interested in playing for Southwick for the rest of the season can contact the club via email on firstname.lastname@example.org