Former England star Jonathan Trott believes Chippingdale Cricket Club have everything in place for a successful future.
Trott was at the Rotary in Worthing on Saturday to celebrate Matt and Julie Bourne winning the Hardys Heartbeat of the Club 2018 award.
Hardys had been on a mission to find the Heartbeat of the Club, those unsung heroes whose commitment and passion bring the local cricket club to life.
Matt and Julie won the award after a public vote. Matt has coached at the club for the last decade and played for 17 years before hanging up his studs to umpire the first XI. His wife Julie takes charge of all that goes on behind the scenes, from managing the club’s finances to taking charge of all pastoral care.
Trott presented Matt and Julie with their trophy as Hardys took a wine bar to Chippingdale to celebrate the duo winning the award. The club held a nets session, with Trott on hand to provide expert batting advice to the junior club members. The day concluded with an open Q&A, hosted by question master Matt Bourne.
Trott, who retired after 17 years playing for Warwickshire this summer and won the Ashes on three occasions with England, was impressed by what he saw at Chippingdale.
Asked if the Sussex League club has everything in place for a successful future, Trott said: “By the looks of it, yes. The club has some great members and decent facilities.
“I think people like Matt and Julie are crucial to the club and the atmosphere, so it is not only a case of coming and enjoying the cricket, but you also want to spend time at the club.
“I think it’s a really, really good club. I had a look around and the facilities are great, the fields are nice, the nets are also good. I think development of young cricketers is crucial, so they’ve got that covered.
“I also think the recognition today from Hardys and the people at the club, who have turned up and supported them is fantastic. The community spirit seems very good.”
Trott also highlighted how important people like Matt and Julie are to a club. He said: “Club cricket is a culture that perhaps is not as popular as it was a couple of decades ago.
“I think people have so many options nowadays on how to spend their weekends, so to create an environment like this at the local sports club is crucial. It means people like Matt and Julie are central to clubs such as this, both lasting and being a place where people want to be.”
Matt and Julie said Trott’s visit to the club was an incredible end to a season where Chippingdale were promoted from Sussex League Division 5 West and won the T20 Cup: “We are extremely proud to have won such a prestigious national award but are well aware that this award isn’t just for the two of us...it really is for all of us who work hard behind the scenes to keep the club moving forward both on and off the field.
“It still feels somewhat surreal that Jonathan Trott was down at The Rotary mingling with club members and helping out with the colts. It is an incredible end to an incredible season for the club and the Hardys Pavilion was just exceptional.”
Matt and Julie believe it is an exciting time to be part of the Sussex Cricket League and added Chipps are moving forward on and off the field: “Our first team are a young and dynamic group who could potentially be playing together for the next ten to 15 years.
“We have some very strong youngsters coming through who will force their way into that side over the coming seasons and having been promoted twice in the last three seasons there is a lot of self-belief in the squad.
“We are now working with the council to improve our playing square along with plans to update our current facility which all bodes well for the club so both on and off the pitch we are moving forward.
“How far can we go? Ask me again in a few season’s time where hopefully we will be enjoying some local derbies with the ‘Big Boys’!”
As for highlights during their time with Chippingdale, Matt and Julie said: “There have been many.
“Being there when first our son, then our daughter struck their maiden centuries, winning Sussex Active club of the year Award in 2010, winning the under-15’s ECB County Cup, winning a Sky Sports Sussex coach of the year award up at The Oval, winning a Sussex Natwest OSCA award.
“Also seeing our son assume captaincy of the first XI at just 18 and securing promotion straight away, winning the Lord’s International T20 Cup this year...and obviously the Hardys Heartbeat of the Club 2018 award was an incredible award and the day we have just had will live long in the memory!
“But in all honesty, the biggest highlight of our time with the club, has undoubtedly been the friends we have made along the way.”
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