Stars lined up for Darwen Cricket Club centenary

BUMPER YEAR: Club chairman Graham Ainslie

BUMPER YEAR: Club chairman Graham Ainslie

First published in Cricket Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

DARWEN Cricket Club has revealed plans for a jam-packed centenary year.

The club, at Birch Hall Cricket Ground, is celebrating its 100th anniversary by throwing a year-long party for players, members and spectators, past and present.

Club chairman Graham Ainslie said the committee was discussing bringing back former stars such as the West Indies all-rounder Keith Semple for a one-off match this summer.

And a sportsman’s dinner at Ewood Park in October will feature former Arsenal and England footballer turned Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson.

In July, an open event at the club's ground in Leven Grove will feature The Swing Commanders plus a marquee, hog roast and champagne party.

Meanwhile, older club members will get together on March 27 before the new season to launch a centenary flag at the clubhouse, with Darwen MP Jake Berry invited.

And Mr Ainslie, 49, who has been involved at the club for nearly 40 years, said members were also hoping to release a 2011 book chronicling the year’s activities, capturing the results of the senior and junior sides and all the individuals who have contributed to the success of the club.

He said: “Thousands of people have been involved in the history of Darwen Cricket Club.

"The whole impetus behind the year is to try to get some of the former players and some of the former spectators out of the woodwork and get them invol-ved in some way.

“We’re celebrating the year but we’re really celebrating everything that has gone before us.”

John Cordingley, club captain, said he was looking forward to an ‘old boys’ line-up pitting its skills against the 2011 Northern League team.

The 28-year-old said: “There is going to be a match between the championship side of 2002 and the current side.

“I played for both but I think I'll captain the current team – a lot of the 2002 team haven’t played for a while!”

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