Eastbourne Cricket Club chairman Ian Fletcher-Price is determined to build on the club’s success now they are ‘back where they belong.’ (writes Derren Howard)
Relegation can be a painful experience for many clubs. It can hit the confidence and knock a few egos of competitors playing at the highest level of non-professional cricket in Sussex.
Eastbourne were an established Premier League side with a reputation of developing young talent so the drop into division two was something of a shock.
The chairman doesn’t deny it was a painful experience but he also feels it’s helped galvanise and made the club focus on creating a positive future.
The evidence is already there to see. The under-10s, the under-11s and the under-12s won their respective leagues last season with the under-11s and under-12s going on to achieve county titles.
Meanwhile, the girls’ under-13 team won their softball league.
Junior membership has increased to 187 players, and under the watchful eye of youth chairman Paul Hacker and manager of the ladies’ and girls’ section Kevin Key, they aim to continue to build.
Fletcher-Price said, “Now that we are back where we belong, it’s important to ensure that the entire club builds on this success and the focus is spread across the whole membership and not just our elite players.
“In addition to our three men’s teams, we put nine boys’ teams out, four girls’ teams and a ladies’ team.
“We certainly have the fastest growing female membership in the county and we are fast gaining a reputation as the club to join if you are a young girl interested in progressing your cricket.”
Of the first team’s prospects for the coming season ‘Fletch’ added, “I’m delighted Eastbourne Cricket Club are once again in the Sussex Premier League after successfully gaining promotion by winning the division two title in style.
“I hope we can cement our place in the top flight and ultimately challenge for honours in the not too distant future.”
The club also remain in talks with Sussex County Cricket Club as they attempt to lure them back to the Saffrons .
“It is something I would personally love to bring back to Eastbourne but it has to be right for both parties,” added Fletcher-Price.
“We continue to talk and with the help of Eastbourne Borough Council, it’s certainly something that could happen by next season.”