The West Yorkshire club has had an eventful summer, having welcomed the Olympic Torch to its ground as well as finding new sponsorships in order to help fund its ambition to gain promotion this season.
Morley Cricket Club’s Chairman, Simon Barraclough, tells us about the developments at his club.
“A big promotion push on this year and if we achieve our target and go up to division 1 then we will have further challenges to come to compete with the ‘big boys’ who spend three or four times as much as us. That isn’t a viable option for us what we will do is try and attract new sponsors and juggle with what finances we have available to try and strengthen to makes us competitive.
“Massive effort over the winter from Commercial Manager Dave Nebard has meant income from commercial sponsorship has increased by 300%. We hold an annual sponsors day for them, produce a monthly newsletter and try and put in place a genuine partnership with these sponsors.
“We have new shirt sponsors Fenton Packaging who have also sponsored our covers, new entrance boards sponsored by letting agents Onwards & Upwards and new junior shirt sponsors in Chargeback Claims.
“Similar to the football Premiership, we can’t compete with the big boys financially and wouldn’t do that and jeopardise the long term future of the club. What we do have though is a tremendous team spirit and that can be an important factor to take us forward, ‘Oooh Morley Morley’ being a familiar chant from the dressing room.”
One way in which Morley CC is trying to stay competitive on limited funding is through the development of their youth players. The clubs U17’s side are the reigning Heavy Woollen Junior Cricket League Champions following on from the league and cup double as U15’s in 2010.
“Paying out extortionate playing fees to seniors is a thing of the past and at Morley CC we are very committed to developing our juniors through to our senior teams.
“We had seventeen of the junior players playing representative cricket last season. James McNichol is 17 and opens the batting for our first team and is on the Yorkshire Academy books. He is a big talent and a level headed lad who we are hoping can go on to fulfil his potential and become Morley’s first home grown county player in years.
“Similarly, Ben Jenkinson has just been called up into the Yorkshire U15s squad and Phoebe Austin represents Yorkshire Women’s U15’s. All three of these have been at the club since an early age.”
Last season saw the junior section host a series of matches against the touring Dubai Desert Cubs, an event that gave the club great exposure and an enhanced profile.
“Following up on this, Andy Jenkinson, one of our age group coaches organised a ground breaking Under14 tour to Australia to visit our sister club, Morley CC in Perth, Australia. A squad of 14 plus coaches and parents spent 2 weeks over there playing 5 or 6 matches against local opposition.”
One thing Barraclough seems very proud of is the clubs game day refreshments. “Our match day teas and speciality cupcakes are genuinely regarded as some of the best match day’s teas out there.”
“Last but certainly not least, the club is indebted to that small but increasingly enthusiastic bunch of volunteers, without which the club wouldn’t exist.”