Home » Net gain for club where cricket legend Matthew Maynard started out thanks to cash confiscated from criminals
Anglesey Community North Wales Sport

Net gain for club where cricket legend Matthew Maynard started out thanks to cash confiscated from criminals

THE ANGLESEY club where cricket legend Matthew Maynard started his illustrious career has been given a major boost thanks to cash seized from criminals.

A £2,000 grant from the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT) has enabled Menai Bridge Cricket Club to buy a new roll-on net cage so that the new generation of players can hone their batting and bowling skills.

PACT’s main focus is to provide funding to community and voluntary groups for schemes that improve people’s quality of life by reducing crime or the fear of crime.

Over the past quarter of a century over 3,500 projects across communities in every single county in North Wales have benefited from funding from the organisation.

Among the latest recipients is Menai Bridge Cricket Club which has more than 100 boys and girls as junior members and is run by an army of volunteers.

It already boasts all-weather training pitches and one of the most scenic grounds in the UK, located high above the Menai Strait with spectacular views across to Eryri and the Llŷn Peninsula.

There are 10 teams in total, ranging from under 9s through to five senior sides, including a women’s team

Former players include Matthew Maynard, known for his aggressive and dashing stroke play, who came through the ranks at the club and went on to score nearly 25,000 runs for Glamorgan, playing four tests and 14 one-day matches for England.

The current crop of youngsters at the club includes Evie Jones, 12, who loves playing cricket.

“It’s good fun and I’ve made lots of new friends,” she said, “and the new cage means we’ll be able to learn how to play better cricket.”

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Another junior player, Ethan Wood, nine, added: “I enjoy batting and hitting the ball as hard as I can.”

PACT chair Ashley Rogers said: “I’m sure that Matthew Maynard’s incredible prowess as a batsman is a source of inspiration to the new generation of cricketers  like Evie and Ethan.

“It is important to support the enthusiasm of youngsters playing sport and the club are clearly having an impact in that respect.

“The grant allows the club to improve the facilities available to the youngsters and it is great to see monies taken out of the community by way of crime being returned to that community.”

Juniors coach Darren Owen said they were hugely grateful to PACT for the grant.

Darren said: “We aim to provide a safe, enjoyable and fun filled environment for anybody within the community to be a part of our club. This could be as part of our teams that take part in organised activities or as coaches, umpires, ground staff, volunteers within the club or spectators.

“Our first team plays in the North Wales Premier League and our second team playing in Division 2. We also have teams at under 9s, 11s, 13s & 15s playing in organised leagues. We are the only club in North Wales cricket to have two under 13s teams playing in the league. 

“In order to ensure we maintain our senior sides we place a massive emphasis on our junior section development.

“Due to the success in attracting over 100 junior members, from four to 18 years, in the past two years we have realised that in order to deliver fun-filled and varied coaching sessions we are going to need to increase the amount of training equipment that we have at the club.

“The roll-on net cage enables us as coaches the chance to provide all teams with an opportunity to work on team related drills while freeing up further areas of the ground so other teams can do likewise.”

Darren added: “Cricket fosters fitness and togetherness which enables children from all backgrounds to come together. It is a brilliant sport as it’s built on teamwork, decision making, problem solving and respect.

“These are values that we value highly within our club. These can then be carried forward into everyday life experiences in order to help create safer neighbourhoods and a reduction in anti-social behaviour and crime.”

The application for funding from PACT was supported by PCSO Caitlin McGonigle, who is stationed at Menai Bridge Police Station.

She said: “This project enables the club to not only continue their training sessions but also enhance them to be open up to even more people.

“It supports the Police and Crime Plan in delivering safer neighbourhoods, supporting victims and communities and protects children and young people and diverts them away from the criminal justice system.

“We have discussed setting up a tournament in the new year with members of the Neighbourhood Policing Team having their own team to play against a mixed team of youth and older members in order to build partnerships and foster cooperation between the Police and younger generations,” she said.

Inspector Gareth Parry added: “Providing opportunities for over 100 children and young people to participate in a community activity is crucial to keeping them engaged and away from anti-social behaviour. I am fully supportive of this grant.”