They were winners on the pitch, but more importantly Aldwick Cricket Club and the community were huge winners off it as the Fredricks-Knight pavillion was opened.
The sunshine was resplendent and despite a chilly wind more than 300 people flocked to see what the club had to offer – and they were not disappointed. Queues out the door for hot and cold drinks were a sign the club was back.
The pavillion was opened by Arun District Council’s Paul Broggi, who was instrumental in the pavilion being built after the old one was destroyed by fire, alongside Mark Jeffries (vice-chairman of the 1st Central Sussex Cricket League), Mick Fredricks, Ian Guppy and Jim Smith.
A speech by Guppy paid tribute to all who had helped make the grand opening possible, following fears the club might fold after the club lost everything in a mindless arson attack.
Guppy paid tribute to former player Ryan Purvis, who passed away a year and half ago. He has been immortalised in the fantastic mural the club had commissioned by the talented local artist Chloe Dowsett.
A cricket taster session was superbly attended by local children, showing what Aldwick Cricket Club will be offering on Thursday evenings in May, June and July as part of the ECB All Stars campaign.
And the sound of laughter could be heard from miles around as the mascot race took place before the match.
Bognor Regis Town FC mascot Rocky the Bear won by a paw ahead of Sussex CCC’s Sid the Shark, with Twinkle, the ECB All Stars mascot, coming a close third but putting smiles on the faces.
On the pitch Aldwick CC triumphed versus a Sussex Cricket Foundation XI with Ed White unbeaten on 61 and Ian Horner scoring a blistering 44 as they chased down the target of 176 with an over to spare.
Guppy said: “The day will probably go down as the biggest in the club’s history. A day that we opened that doors to the community and a day that will hopefully set us up literally to rise from the ashes.”
* Aldwick will run ECB All Stars sessions on Thursday evenings from May 16 for children aged five to eight. Details at allstars cricket.co.uk/aldwick