Squash club steps in to ensure the future of town cricket club

Steve Avil coaches Paul Gibbison during the Squash Club open day
Steve Avil coaches Paul Gibbison during the Squash Club open day

The new husband and wife team that has taken over the running of Harborough Cricket Club has promised “the future looks fantastic”.

New club secretary Alison Avil said: “The cricket club was struggling a bit, and not getting sides out, but it just needed some love and guidance.

“There are loads of great people here, a fantastic ground and of course a really top first team.”

Alison and husband Steve Avil, the new club chairman, now hope to lead a combined Market Harborough Cricket and Squash Club into a successful 2014/15.

A club open day last Sunday was part of a nationwide initiative to boost grassroots participation in cricket and squash. “It was miserable weather for the cricket, so we’re hoping to re-arrange our six-a-side competition for Bank Holiday Monday,” said Mrs Avil.

“But it was a successful day from the squash side.”

The Avils’ track record with the squash club has been impressive in the five years since they took on the unpaid, voluntary positions.

Membership has increased from 100 to 250, and now the squash club is looking to increase the number of courts from three to five with an ambitious £340,000 extension. So far they have secured more than £125,000 of funding.

“Extra squash courts would basically get more money coming in for everyone,” said Mrs Avil.

A meeting next Monday is due to make the link between squash and cricket clubs official.

“On the cricket side, we have already got a good team, but what Harborough needs now is a good club,” explained Mrs Avil.

“There’s a lot of goodwill here, and now we have to get membership up from about 90 and we’re looking to have four junior teams next season as well as our senior first and second teams.”

She said they were now looking for more people to run small parts of the cricket club, like the ladies who organise the teas, who are already very organised and efficient.

“We’re looking to get mums and dads involved in running junior sides; a coach and a manager for each team,” said Mrs Avil.

Meanwhile, there’s a chance to see top cricket action at the ground, off Fairfield Road, Harborough, next week.

Market Harborough Cricket Club hosts Leicestershire CCC’s 2nds against Kent on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Admission is free.