In my last article for the April edition I was looking forward to the season ahead for Syston Town C.C. with great optimism. We were getting ready to welcome Matt Russo from Australia who was going to spend the summer with us and after the winter floods, we were hoping for some much better weather. In that respect we were very fortunate and we would have started the season on time but for the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen the cancellation of all local sport. The lockdown and social distancing measures mean that no cricket at all has been possible up to mid-June and this situation is likely until to continue until August at the earliest.
However, the club has been far from idle this year. The practice nets, which were ruined by the floods, have been replaced and the club once more has a first class practice facility as the photograph shows. Unfortunately at the moment only two people at a time can use them due to the restrictions but hopefully they will be in full use before too long. The new facility was funded approximately half from grants and half from club fund raising efforts. Sport England were very supportive with a flood relief grant of £5,000 and the club is very grateful to local Charnwood Councillors Tom Barkley, Ken Pacey and Simon Bradshaw who went the extra mile to enable the club to receive a Charnwood Member’s Grant.
The Ales and Bails Beer Festival due to be held in May was by necessity cancelled but may be rescheduled for later in the year. In its place, Andy Woolaston and Scott Cooper organised a club Walkathon. This involved club members singly walking 100 laps of the ground, a distance of some 25 miles. A gofundme page was set up and donations were requested from members and supporters. The original target was £1000 but the final figure raised was an incredible £3711. A donation of £333 was given to the mental health charity Mind and £150 to Support & Connections set up by the late Tony Howlett. The event took place over nineteen days in May and 22 members covered the distance. These included scorer Jo Kay (pictured), Ann Thurman who supplies us with splendid teas, Iain Fraser who covered the distance in full cricket kit and Atul Patel who was supported by his whole family. Thanks to Les Gallop photos of all who took part are on the club website. The Walkathon was a superb event for the club in terms of both money raised and perhaps more importantly, team spirit in these very difficult times.