Radyr Cricket Club

RCC Pavilion Extension Review – for ECB Annual Report

RADYR CRICKET CLUB PAVILION EXTENSION – CASE STUDY

COUNTY BOARD – WALES

SOUTH EAST WALES CRICKET LEAGUE & SOUTH WEST WOMENS REGIONAL LEAGUE

INTRODUCTION 

Radyr CC first started playing on its current ground in 1908 with a minimal fixture and membership list and have developed into a club which has five senior league sides, a hard ball Womens team, numerous junior sides and a soft ball ladies section. The current club house was built in the early 1970’s following a fire which destroyed the wooden pavilion, that had been in situ since the club started playing at the Riverside ground. It contained only two changing rooms, as at that time, that was the number of sides the club ran. With the development of a fledgling third XI, who were for a time, somewhat nomadic, the adjoining land was developed into a second ground. Basic changing facilities were constructed, followed by a fourth XI but it was clear that this breeze block hut was not a long term solution. The dream was for an extension that would house all four of the sides who played at Radyr.

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT 

Whilst the official start date of the project was August 2019, thoughts had turned to providing facilities a number of years before that date. In early 2015 an architect was commissioned to produce a design, which would meet the requirements of the ECB and Cricket Wales for two changing rooms, umpires facilities and a disabled toilet. A planning application was submitted and in August of that year permission was granted: fingers were crossed as the club had speculated £1,000. The hard work now began to find the various streams of funding required to make the dream a reality. The project team estimated that the cost would be £120,000 and this had to be raised to ensure the seed corn was not wasted. In November 2018, after a great many discussions, Cricket Wales confirmed that a grant of £60,000 would be forthcoming: the downside being the club needed to replicate that sum. So almost four years after pushing the button on the project, there was light at the end of the tunnel. The Community Council, the club and its members plus a loan from the ECB meant that as the 2019 season came to an end the diggers were poised.

During this period two sub committees were formed: one to oversee the detailed design and construction side and the other to look after fund raising and its administration: these were invaluable and sat throughout the whole of the process. The club members were kept involved and presentations were given by the project team at fairly regular intervals and the search for funding never stopped. Also the pre contract requirements of Building Control seemed endless, though after some lengthy negotiations the club was given the green light. The start date arrived and with very little fanfare the next phase of this project began.

THE EARLY BUILDING PHASE – THE THREE BIG CHALLENGES 

The early part of the project proceeded better than expected: the ground workers made excellent progress and the foundations were almost complete by September. The walls started to appear and it was thought the extension would definitely be completed before the start of the 2020 season: the excitement within the club was palpable. Slowly but surely the walls were followed by the scaffolding but as autumn became winter the club was hit by its first major challenge. 

At the back of the clubhouse was an electricity substation on a wooden pole which had been in place for a number of years, but which according to its owner, Western Power, was too close to the scaffolding. Meetings took place and the prognosis was gloomy: the substation had to be moved. It did seem that the project could be permanently derailed. Eventually an agreement was reached, with Western Power who were as amenable as they could be in the circumstances. However it meant a cost to the club that left the budget in a pretty precarious state, until the ECB appeared with a second grant, of £12,500. Never was a cricket club so thankful for the foresight and generosity of its governing body. The wayleave agreement took some time to complete but finally the trenches for the electricity cables could be dug and the substation moved: whilst this delay had cost the project almost four months, it was moving again.

Then the second big challenge. Early morning on February 16, 2020 Storm Dennis caused the banks of the River Taff to burst and the whole ground, of almost fourteen acres, was covered by up to four feet of water: amazingly the existing clubhouse and the half built extension suffered only minor damage, as it sits slightly higher than the rest of the land. Over the next day or so the water receded leaving a thick layer of mud sitting across large parts of the ground: this had to be removed. Immediately members rallied round, along with those of other clubs, and plans were put in place to get cricket played that summer: the cry was the club has seventy days to save its season. As time progressed it became clear that this flood had the potential to finish the club, as the tsunami that struck was unlike anything seen before at Radyr. Again there was a desperate cry for funds, and whilst the insurers were as generous as they could be, and other private donations were received, the club was in an impossible financial situation. Again the ECB came to the rescue with a third grant of £17,250, approved and paid less than three weeks after the flood. This meant that for a couple of months, the works on the extension, understandably, had to be put on hold for a second time.

In Wales it is said everything comes in threes and this project proved the old adage was correct. Within a month of the flood and the beginning of the clear up, the world was faced with the Covid pandemic. This meant that the works on restoring the ground were hugely disrupted due to the lockdown, whilst the extension works ceased, primarily because supplies of materials were impossible to source. Slowly but surely it became clear that the cricket season was going to be seriously affected and the pressure, to a certain extent, was off on completing the extension and the ground repairs. As the situation eased, contractors re-appeared and the roof covering started to take shape in late April and by mid May the building was wind and watertight. The rendering followed and by the time cricket was allowed again, some ten months after the project had started, the structure was in place. Now it was the turn of the internals.

THE INTERIOR

As July came to an end a big day occurred, with the joining of the old and new by means of an entrance being created from the existing lounge to the extension. From that day on every visit saw  movement, sometimes a lot, with the high point being when there were thirteen vans in the car park, representing every trade under the sun. The nervousness of the previous months was slowly abating as people were learning to live with Covid and sensible precautions were taken by the club to allow progress to continue. As the 2020 truncated season ended the internal shape of the extension became clear, as carpenters and plasterers were followed by painters. Club members leant a hand and in late November the electrics went live, which allowed the sliding doors to become operational. The only worry now was running out of money and the project manager was for ever holding back on requests for this and that. As Christmas arrived all the previous pain seemed to disappear with the lights on, the painting complete and the belief that the journey was just about over. 

The new year saw snow fall at the club but the fit out works continued. The final plumbing arrived in January, quickly followed by the carpenter putting together the benches in the changing rooms. A buzz of anticipation began as at long last the members could envisage changing in these wonderful facilities. The floor coverings were laid, the final painting was completed, the showers worked and the finished product took the breath away: Radyr CC were the owners of some of the best facilities in South Wales.

THE CONCLUSION 

So when will it be finished was the constant cry: be patient was the answer. The budget was, by good management, holding up and there was enough to finish off the final external works and the longed for patio. That started after the snow disappeared and by mid March this final piece of the jigsaw was in place. The records say that the project was signed off in April, 2021, some twenty months after the start, but the team were adding this and that throughout the summer, to ensure the product was simply the best. For those who have lived with this project since 2015 the finale brought a tear to the eye and the belief that this was a job well done and one that they can be truly proud of.

COMMENTS

Christopher Hitchings – Chairman Radyr Cricket Club

“This project has been the culmination of work that I and various members of the club have been involved in for over a decade. It has helped transform the playing facilities at Radyr and today sees us stand alongside the best cricket clubs in South Wales. Throughout all of these works the ECB and Cricket Wales have been there, helping us not just with good advice, but also grant funding, without which, none of this would have been possible. Even before the extension project outlined above, the club received funding towards the permanent net facility and the refurbishment of the kitchen facilities. It has been a partnership and hopefully that will continue for many years to come.

Through the efforts of Neil Higginson (ECB) and Mark White (CW) the extension project has improved the club’s overall facilities substantially. The layout of the pavilion now allows changing facilities for two games to be isolated with obvious benefits to the club’s members. It has also allowed us to provide modern facilities for our Womens team. The calmness and urgent action of both the ECB and CW when we had the issue with Western Power and the flood helped the project to stay on track. It is not overstating things to say that without them Radyr CC might not be here today. They have my eternal thanks and that of every member of the club”

Peter Sullivan – Asset Manager Radyr Cricket Club – Project Manager of the Extension 

“For me the assistance I received from Neil Higginson (ECB) in particular, especially at the start of the project, was invaluable. Not only did they help me with the myriad of claims forms but as the lockdown struck the trust they showed me and the club to deliver the project was very humbling. Neil was always at the end of the telephone to give advice, despite the issues the ECB were themselves facing. Without their help this project could have stalled many times and left Radyr CC in a very difficult position. I look forward to working with Neil again on our next project.”

Radyr Chain Article – December 2021

“I assume that very little happens at the club at this time of the year and you can have a bit of a break?”, said my non cricketing acquaintance. I smiled, and just as I was about to reply, I thought to myself: only two AGMs, indoor nets for juniors and seniors, repairing and cleaning various parts of the inside and outside of the pavilion, writing articles for magazines, agreeing new marketing initiatives, checking the 2022 fixtures and signing new players. No I said after a slight pause, not much happens pre Christmas!!!!! 

For those people who have never been involved with a sports club, especially one the size of RCC, it is difficult to comprehend the complexities involved. The members have to have some expertise in property, finance, building and a dozen other disciplines and that is even before the sport begins on the field. I have been a member of the club since the late 1960s and seen it steadily grow from fielding one side on a Saturday, to five. To now having an extensive Junior section and a formal hard ball Womens XI. The club has the turn over of a small business, and over the last few years, in addition to its usual commitments on and off the pitch, has been engaged in virtually rebuilding the pavilion, adding two new changing rooms at the same time, whilst installing fences and a dedicated path for walkers. All of this project managed internally by members, adding another discipline to that list.

One of the AGMs I mentioned above was the club’s, the first one since 2019. Last year’s was cancelled due to Covid as it fell during lockdown and this year we took no chances: hiring the Old Church Rooms to ensure members could socially distance. After we exchanged respective Risk Assessments with the Community Council the meeting took place, but not before apologies were received from six people who had mild Covid, had come into contact with someone who had Covid and who had relatives with Covid. It was to me a salutary lesson that the disease was still very much with us. The meeting itself was very successful and was helped by two very good presentations, especially the one that concentrated on the club’s physical assets. It went through the period from the River Taff’s flood in February 2020 to today and the attached photographs show what the ground was like after Storm Dennis and a few weeks ago: a huge amount of hard work and the generosity of many, pulled the club back from the brink of oblivion.

So what lays in store for the club as the Christmas period comes upon us? Well I suppose the hope that the 2022 season will be without any Covid restrictions, the ‘cricket tea’ so beloved of most recreational cricketers will reappear, the wonderful changing facilities the club now possesses will be in full operation and hand sanitiser breaks might be a thing of the past. What I do know is that the club will receive the support of the businesses of Radyr and Morganstown and already I have made contact with a few who are delighted to help the club and help themselves at the same time. The club has a large amount of marketing opportunities, suitable for any local business, from sponsoring balls for a game, sponsoring the game itself or taking an advertisement in and around the ground. One such opportunity currently available is placing an advertisement on the club’s new covers: the last ones lasted ten years, so for £500, a business can have a visible presence every day of the year for the next decade, that costs approximately £1 per week. I can’t imagine any better marketing offer anywhere in the whole of South Wales. Please contact me on christopherhitchings@btinternet.comif any of these opportunities are of interest.

So all that remains from me is to wish all of the club’s members, everybody who lives in Radyr and Morganstown and all our friends where ever they may be, a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous and safe 2022.

Christopher Hitchings – Radyr Cricket Club 

RCC – Review of 2021 Season

At approximately 4.15pm on September 11th, Rhys Lloyd hit the boundary which won the game for the First XI at Lisvane by 3 wickets and proved to be the last action of a packed season. The highlight of the last game was a hat trick, his first, by Tom Shrewsbury, and the first at this level for the club in over twenty years. (For those interested the moment when it happened can be seen from two angles on Twitter). 

The year for the First XI ultimately proved successful, as having got promotion in 2019 to the top division of the South East Wales Cricket League, consolidation was the aim. Finishing in mid table was the perfect end and was helped by being undefeated in the last four games: the three wins and a tie took the side well away from any idea of relegation. Thoughts however go to games we should have won, especially twice against Sudbrook, where we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. However mid table would have been grabbed with gusto if it had been offered before the season started.

The Second XI also had the same aim of consolidation having been promoted to Division 3 in 2019. This level of cricket meant that for the first time, the club would have neutral umpires for its top two sides and for the seconds the difference was palpable. The season ebbed and flowed, winning when they were destined to lose and losing when it seemed impossible to do other than win. However in the end, despite a terrible run of injuries and Covid interventions, the team got the necessary number of points to avoid the dreaded drop. Next year will be quite another challenge, especially early in the season, when quite a few of the stalwarts are away in University, but hopefully injuries and Covid will relent.

The Third XI, as with the top two sides, were basking in a 2019 promotion season. However unlike those sides, the team found the going tough in Division 4, playing against some exceptional clubs and ending second from bottom in the table and therefore contemplating life in a lower division. Despite some early wins, the knock on effect of availability throughout the club took its toil and relegation was confirmed a few weeks before the end of the season. This was a bitter pill to swallow for the skipper and his loyal group of players, but I have no doubt that 2022 will see a fresh impetus from the Third XI as they once again aim to climb back into the higher division.

At the start of the season the club asked Daf Marsh to skipper the Fourth XI and to achieve promotion out of Division 10, which had cruelly eluded his predecessor for a number of years. Moving up the divisions was felt to be vital to close the cricketing gap between the 3rds and the 4ths. The skipper, his first ever captaincy role, like his team, got better as the year progressed and by the last game of the season, they knew that a win might just be good enough for promotion. The side did what it could with a comprehensive victory and then the agonising wait for the result of our closest rival. Slowly rumour turned to fact and the news seeped out, the Fourth XI were promoted and the team fashioned out of promising young cricketers plus a few more senior individuals had become the talk of the club.

The 2021 season was for a number of reasons a year of firsts, with one of them being the Fifth XI finally taking the field. After a stalled year due to Covid, Steve Sanders took the helm, with the aim being to end above mid way in an eighteen team division. This was achieved as they finished in eighth position and not before his players scored three centuries in achieving seven brilliant victories. The only drawback was the need for their home games to be in Pontcanna rather than Radyr, though the club are looking at all possible avenues to bring them home. Throughout the year they played some great cricket, introduced youngsters to the game and at the end of the day enjoyed themselves enormously. The 2022 season can’t come soon enough.

The other main first was the inaugural full season of the Womens XI which was an enormous success. The side finished in third place in the South West Womens Regional Premier League, which saw visits over the water to Bath and Bridgwater Cricket Clubs, plus more local south Wales matches. The triumph at the latter of the English clubs saw the side chase down over two hundred and fifty to win the game by eight wickets, with captain, Lydia Clements making an undefeated hundred. She was nobly assisted by Beth Gammon, who later in the year was given her Western Storm debut at Chester Le Street. The ladies have in a short space of time become an integral part of the club and added to an already fun environment. Their dedication and no little skill will see them undoubtedly prosper over the next few seasons. It should also be mentioned that the Ladies Soft Ball team won the Division 3 Cup and from the photographs seen they had a great time afterwards.

The Under 19s weren’t quite as successful this year as in 2019 though at the start and end of the season they triumphed against Gorseinon CC, who are about to take their place in this year’s final. The Junior teams continued to introduce young boys and girls to the joy of cricket and produce youngsters who will grace the senior sides. Another first was the club’s association with the University of South Wales CC. Unfortunately the early season weather saw all but one game called off, though the club has great hopes of developing this relationship into the future. Finally a big thank you to our main shirt sponsors, Michael Graham Young and CGI, plus all those who advertised in the Fixture Card and around the ground.

The 2021 Award winners at the brilliant celebration night I early September were as follows:

First XI Player of the Year, Mick Sullivan Award – Rhys Lloyd

Second XI Player of the Year – Tom Wilbraham

Third XI Player of the Year – Matt Tyler

Fourth XI Player of the Year, George Edwards Award – Evan Rhys

Fifth XI Player of the Year, Mary Norman Award – Peter Lamb

Womens XI Hardball Player of the Year, Geraint Thomas Award – Lydia Clements

Womens Softball Most Improved Player, Paul Adams Award – Kath Cook

Young Player of the Year, Denis Towill Award – Archie Clegg

Club Person of the Year, George Helyar & Gomer Cosker Award – Becky Thomas

Adam Shantry Award – Peter Lamb

Can I say bon voyage to a number of members who are off to pastures new: Matt Swindlehurst is moving to London to further his career and George Pickering is off to, he doesn’t know yet, in his career as a Civil Servant. You go with our deepest thanks and wishing you all the best in whatever life throws at you. To those off to University for the first time it’s au revoir, to Archie Clegg, Alex Griffiths, Cian Morgan, Jack and Will Jones and Sophie Thomas. Also to Alfie Rogers who is about to start his apprenticeship in Cheltenham. Hopefully we’ll see you at the club in one piece as soon as you’re home.

So the 2021 season is at an end. Thanks to all members, LVPs, VPs and all the club’s friends and sponsors and hopefully see you all in 2022.

Chris Hitchings – Chairman

14 September, 2021

Radyr Chain – October Article

The season at Radyr ended with an amazing Awards Ceremony held on the outfield in front of the pavilion. The photograph shows the fantastic numbers who attended and enjoyed a long evening. It was without doubt the best and most well attended of these ceremonies we’ve ever organised and showed the diverse nature of the membership of the club. It was wonderful to see members as young as seven years of age receiving their prizes and the sheer joy on their faces and of their parents will live long in the memory. The barbecue and bar did a roaring trade and it was a celebration of everything that is good, in this most sociable of cricket clubs. 

The season was one of consolidation after the major triumphs of 2019, the last full season pre Covid. The Fourth XI were the most successful senior team and achieved promotion on the last day of the season. The captain and his players justifiably celebrated long and hard, in a side combining the youngest and oldest of the club’s players. They will be extremely competitive in the higher division in 2022 and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if more success followed.

It was also a season of firsts as the club embarked on a Fifth XI and at long last the Womens XI. The former was incredibly successful and gave great enjoyment to those players, again young and old, who played throughout the season. The only drawback was that their home games had to be played away from Radyr due to pitch constraints. It is something the club needs to urgently remedy and alternatives are being sought. Unfortunately cricket pitches are not ten a penny in Radyr or Morganstown but the search continues. With regards the Womens side this was more successful than the club could have imagined. In the end they finished third in the South West Womens Cricket League, the top level of women’s cricket in this area. The photograph shows the team after their game at Bath, who are one of the power houses of both male and female recreational cricket. I have no doubt that this section of the club will go from strength to strength and their fun attitude has made the clubhouse a great place to be on Saturday evenings.

The Awards Ceremony also showed off the wonderful facilities that the club enjoys. I think it is unlikely that many clubs in South Wales enjoy conjoined grounds of such quality with changing rooms to match. The sadness was of course that due to Covid restrictions it was only in the last few weeks of the season that these could be used: in fact the cricket tea, that institution of the recreational game, did not reappear until the last game of the season. The off season will see a number of areas improved, a few walls repainted and fences upgraded. The grounds have already had there annual weed and feed and throughout September and October works will conclude on tidying up the squares in preparation for 2022. Truly work never ceases at Radyr Cricket Club.

So whilst I take a few weeks to get my breath back, planning for next year begins in earnest in November. Firstly the AGM will make the decisions that set the club’s path towards 2022: this is quickly followed by the League’s version, when all the playing conditions are agreed. Indoor nets will follow on shortly thereafter and some of the members will play the indoor variety of the game. Then the big moment, the arrival of the fixtures before the year end and the thought that cricket is once again just around the corner.

It only remains for me to thank our shirt sponsors, Michael Graham Young for their support, the Community Council for all their kindness and the residents of Radyr and Morganstown who always help the club enormously. Should anyone wish to become part of Radyr Cricket Club, in any capacity, at any age, either boy or girl, from player to groundsman, from sponsor to scorer, please do not hesitate to contact me on christopherhitchings@btinternet.comand I can assure you, you won’t regret it.

Christopher Hitchings – Chairman

Weekend of June 12 & 13 June

Once again it was four out of five wins for the club’s Saturday’s league teams. This week the party poopers were Miskin Manor 2nd XI who beat the Seconds by just one wicket off the penultimate ball: the game however was a belter with 484 runs shared between the sides. Rod Lloyd with 77 and Iwan Llewelyn 71 no, were the best of the batters whilst the pick of the bowlers was the skipper, Ben Wakeling with 4-27.

The First XI got their third win out of four by beating Blackwood at Radyr by 90 runs. Winning the toss and batting, RCC reached 256-8, with Archie Clegg 63, Tomos Morris 56 and a destructive 45 no from Tom Shrewsbury in 26 balls, being the main stay of the innings. Replying Blackwood reached 97-1 before losing wickets at regular intervals to end on 166-10. The wickets were spread out with Rod Lewis, Rhydian Morgan, Alfie Rogers and Rhys Lloyd taking two each.

In the Fourth Division the Third XI visited Abercynon to play their First XI, usually a daunting prospect. Well not so this time, as RCC recorded a 7 wicket win with almost 5 overs remaining. Winning the toss RCC decided to field first and restricted the hosts to 204-6 off their 40 overs. The star of the show was Matt Tyler who took 4-26, including a hat trick. He then put his pads on and opened the innings with Pete Clegg who scored a fantastic 113, being out with only 4 required to win. Pete was assisted by Will Jones with a well struck 40.

The Fourth XI continued their good form with a home win by 123 runs. Winning the toss and batting, RCC reached an impressive 207-6, with Gwion Tyler for the second Saturday running carrying his bat and scoring an unbeaten hundred: this time it was 133 no. A wonderful effort from a 15 year old, who got the call up for the First XI’s Welsh Cup match the following day. When taking the field Dinas Powys were never in the hunt, once their opener was dismissed by Evan Rhys, who went on to have figures of 3-1 off 6 overs with 5 maidens. The rest of the bowlers chipped in with the pick being George Pickering with 3-12.

Another brilliant performance by the Fifth XI saw them triumph by 36 runs. After losing the toss they scored 225-8, with Jamie Morgan scoring 97 in his first innings since August 2019. A belligerent 27 from Saffan Arian, which included 26 in boundaries, helped the side to such a formidable total. Vale CC opened with an 84 run partnership which was ended by Zachery Lewis, who took 3-16. Despite an unbeaten 6th wicket partnership of 42, the side were comfortable winners.

On Sunday the First XI played their re-arranged first round Welsh Cup tie at home to Upper Rhondda CC and won by 8 wickets. The visitors won the toss and batted but were dismissed for 75 in 14 overs. The wickets were shared around with 3 apiece for Gwion Tyler, on his debut, and Tom Wilbraham, with a hat trick to finish off the innings. RCC responded with 77-2 off 10.5 overs with Ben O’ Neil unbeaten on 32. It’s now off to Creigiau for the next round at the end of June.

Last but not least was a wonderful 8 wickets win for the Radyr Womens team away at Devizes. The hosts won the toss and posted 161-6 off their 40 overs, with Anna Stephenson’s 2-8 being the pick of the bowlers. When RCC replied, Mari Friss 41, Bethan Gammon 37 no and Lydia Clements 34 no took the side home, with a score of 162-2, with almost 7 overs to spare.

Saturday 5th June

Despite all five captains losing the toss for the second Saturday running, the club again achieved four wins, with the “black sheep” this week being the Second XI: bowling poorly early on proved decisive. However what was clear in all the games was the huge contribution made by the club’s younger members. In each side one youngster could be signalled out.

First XI – on Friday evening, Alfie Rogers was called into the side to make his debut at Usk CC, a place where bowlers have often been given a hard time. Hiding a debutant in the field might have been thought the safest option but there was none of that on this occasion. Bowling his full compliment of 10 overs of off spin, his figures were quite remarkable: 1-17 with 4 runs in one over being the most conceded. His bowling spell undoubtedly went some way in achieving victory.

SecondXI – despite being on the losing side Tom Wilbraham finished on 62 not out, his second half century in consecutive games. He currently has 124 league runs at an average of 62. In addition he took 2 wickets on Saturday to take his season’s tally to 11, at an average of 12.73.

Third XI – Jake Wakeling was back from school on his half term holidays this weekend and showed what a great cricketer he is. He firstly hammered a quick fire 18 when runs were required, then picked up the ball and took 2-11. He played a major part in the opposition going from 80-0, to 80-4 and ultimately 103-10, by taking the first and third wickets to fall.

Fourth XI – Cian Morgan moped up the tail of Abercynon’s innings taking 3-24 off his allotted 8 overs and ensured his side remain top of the table.

Fifth XI – it was a red letter day for Gwion Tyler as he scored his maiden century for the club, as he opened the innings, carrying his bat and ending on 118 not out. This helped the club chase down a huge total of 218 which was done with 3 of the 40 overs to spare. Earlier in the day he had also opened the bowling and taken 1-43 in his 8 overs. 

A great day all round for the youth of RCC.

Radyr Chain article

For club cricketers the time when all things ought to be in place is the middle of April. This is our D Day, when the check list is finalised and the preparations are complete. This year was slightly different because only a few weeks earlier the lockdown restrictions had been eased and the net facility reopened.  New players who in normal circumstances would have joined indoor winter training were still contacting the club whilst existing members, like creatures waking from their hibernation, were suddenly aware that the season was imminent. This winter at RCC had been like no other however. The reseeding of the second ground had taken hold and produced a better surface than ever before. With the new path along the river’s edge, walkers had their own dedicated avenue, which has allowed the outfield of the main ground to be the better than ever. New sight screens, mobile covers (paid for by grants from the ECB and the Community Council), a major refresh of the electronic scoreboard, new sets of stumps for all sides, a new clock on the second ground and a smell of new paint as the pavilion walls and shutters were given a major overhaul. The club was ready to go.

With April slowly disappearing the club invited Councillor Huw Jones, the Chair of the Community Council and the Lord Mayor, Councillor Rod McKerlich, to view the ground and the works carried out by the club. The Community Council have been so generous over the last few years, it was an opportunity to say thank you and show them both what the grant money had been spent on. The main beneficiary has been the pavilion extension, which alone with works carried out in the existing building, now gives the club four magnificent changing rooms, all with en-suite facilities plus an umpires room second to none. I also took advantage of their presence and the fact that it was the club’s first junior game of the season to arrange the presentation of the prizes to the two winners of the Xmas quiz, run in the December edition of the Chain. The attached photographs show the Lord Mayor presenting a shirt to Lydia Bell and the Chair of the Community Council to Mollie Richards. 

Disappointingly May didn’t play the game weather wise and early on more games were cancelled than completed: Saturdays were more conducive to wellingtons than flip flops. However what this hiatus allowed the members to do was chat about all things RCC and the issues affecting the villages. One such topic that kept constantly being raised, regarded the playing field and the “island” in Morganstown, and the railway works that could affect them for sometime to come. As someone whose formative years were spent in Heol Syr Lewis, the playing fields were my Cardiff Arms Park, Wembley and of course Sophia Gardens: Lord’s was an unknown joy, only to be discovered years later.  It was here that mine and some of my friends great love of sport, and especially cricket, dawned, as we all tried to emulate our particular heroes. It was from here that we started on our particular journeys, and which for a number of us ended up at RCC, so hence the interest.

However it was interesting that very few people realised the strong connection between the Morganstown playing fields and RCC and I thought the Chain’s readers might like an explanation. In 1893, some three years after the formation of RCC, a new club called Garth CC was founded, on what was known as the Tynant Estate. The exact location of the ground and pavilion are unknown, except to say that the records state it was near to the “island”. For over thirty years both sides competed separately, with Garth CC’s prominent period being before the Great War. However it became clear that the two villages were just too small to run separate sides and an amalgamation was arranged: in 1928, Radyr and Garth Cricket Club was formed, playing at the current ground. When the name simply became Radyr CC is unknown, though probably after the Second World War. However that is not the end of the story, as in 1995, the club’s emerging Third XI needed a temporary home, and they alighted at the Morganstown playing fields. The ghosts of Garth CC had returned home. If you are interested in more historic information about the club and Radyr and Morganstown in general, from 1890 to 2015, please get in touch with me and a copy of an amazing book that the club produced as part of its 125th Anniversary, can be purchased for £5 plus postage and packing. It was so well received that a version can be found in the MCC Cricket Library at Lord’s. My email address is christopherhitchings@btinternet.com

So those youngsters, who I mentioned above, gravitated quite naturally to RCC, in a time before League cricket, when the 1908 built pavilion was still standing and the facilities weren’t as cultured as they are today. Out of the playing fields emerged three club captains, who led the First XI with distinction and who are still stalwarts of RCC. The youngest of these is Howard Stone, probably better known for playing over 300 games for Cardiff RFC and winning a Wales B cap against France. However, with respect to Howard, it is the other two captains who I wish to concentrate on today: Carl Norman (left) and Peter Sullivan (right), and it is they who you see in the attached photograph, standing at the entrance to the club’s pavilion extension. It is these two who have given so much to the club over the years but recently using their building experience have managed the biggest project the club has ever entertained. Now I must be honest and say there have been hitches along the way, but they and quite a few others, have produced a building to be proud of, that will last the test of time. It is quite simply one of the best cricketing changing facilities in the amateur game in south Wales and without Carl and Peter, none of this would have been possible.

Christopher Hitchings

Radyr Cricket Club – Chairman

Ladies Cricket Flourishing at RCC

On Friday evening the club’s Under 15s became Welsh Champions by beating Newport on their patch. RCC scored 145-3 and Newport replied with 72-7. A picture of the triumphant ladies can be seen below. Having qualified from Wales the side now go over the border to play sides from the south west.

On Sunday, on the same ground, Radyr Women’s XI opened their league season with a comprehensive win against Newport by 8 wickets. Winning the toss and deciding to field first, RCC bowled out the opposition for 114. Pick of the bowlers was Jess Clayton with 3-18. In response the Ladies made short order of the run chase concluding with 115-2 off just 16.5 overs, with Sophie Thomas 50 not out in 49 balls and skipper Lydia Clements 34 in 23 balls.

A brilliant couple of days for the Ladies from RCC.

Completion of Pavilion Extension project

On Monday May 17th, 2021 the Building Inspector issued the final Certificate relating to the pavilion extension, which confirms the completion of this project. It is the biggest development the club has embarked on since the rebuilding of the fire damaged pavilion in the early 1970s. Thanks must go to all the funders who helped make the project possible, all the members who assisted in any way and especially Peter Sullivan and Carl Norman, whose skills saw the project over the line: the former has ate and slept the extension since it started on site in August 2019 and was a project manager par excellence.

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USW v Cardiff Met

RCC are delighted that the first USW fixture took place on Wednesday at the ground and for the first time in a while the sun shone. Unfortunately the result didn’t go the way of USW who lost by 5 wickets, in a closely fought game. The club looks forward to hosting the next game in two weeks time.

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