Keen cricketers are working hard to revive Featherston Cricket Club. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED
Featherston could soon have its own cricket club for the first time in more than 25 years.
An enthusiastic group of cricketers have been playing social games on the town’s old artificial pitch on the Card Reserve, but now they’re taking it a step further and establishing an official club.
One of the organisers, Roshan Sugathan, said the club has developed a constitution and has sent the appropriate documentation to the Companies Office to register as an incorporated society.
It has also been working with the Greytown Community Sport and Leisure Society and Wairarapa Cricket to help with the development of the club.
The cricketers have been playing Sunday games over the past month on the artificial pitch, or in the indoor stadium when the weather is poor, using a hard tennis ball.
The next step for the club is a tournament to be held on the first and second weekends of October.
Sugathan said a hard tennis ball will be used for the games, as the artificial pitch was not good enough for a cricket ball to be used.
“There are a lot of tournaments like this in India, but there hasn’t been such a tournament held in Featherston before.
“The balls are harder than a normal tennis balls and feel like leather, and we’re importing about 30 balls from India for the games” he said.
Sugathan is expecting teams from Wairarapa and Wellington to play.
The top four teams will qualify for the semifinals to be played on the second weekend of October.
As for playing in official Wairarapa Cricket competitions, Sugathan says it would take a year or two to get everything in place to field some teams.
“It’s difficult to form adult teams. There’s still not enough people playing on Sundays, and there are some playing for other clubs, but it might be the next season [2020-21].
“We’ll try and start with some kids’ teams for this season.”
“Our pitch isn’t perfect, and we have to get the ground approved, so we have a lot of work to do.”
Wairarapa Cricket operations and development manager Simon Roseingrave is right behind getting the town’s club up and running.
“There’s a real opportunity for growth. There’s a lot of untapped talent in the town.
“Some of the grant money that Doug Bracewell received for winning the Sir Jack Newman Award for outstanding work with junior cricket was given to South Featherston School, and we’re working with the school and club to get cricket re-established.
“The pitch is too narrow and doesn’t meet the required standards, and the net facility needs to be upgraded, so there is still a lot of work to done.”
Featherston were regular competitors in the Wairarapa senior grade for many years until the late 1980s.
In its heyday the club had as many as four teams in the senior, second, and third grades.
After its demotion from the top grade, the club had a competitive second grade side until about 1994, when it folded.
The town has produced some of the province’s best cricketers over the past three decades, including former representative players Mark Childs, Shane Mellor, Josh Doherty, and Robin James.
Since the club’s demise, most of Featherston’s promising players have played for the successful Greytown club.