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Village cricket may be down but it's not out

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telegraph.co.uk

Another unfortunate effect of Covid, Anderson tells me, is that the league has forbidden communal teas, usually made by wives, mothers and girlfriends. ‘There used to be a competition for who could make the best tea,’ he says ruefully. ‘You now have to bring your own packed lunch.’Even so, it is a close-knit club, partly because ‘we all roll our sleeves up’, says Anderson.

The club’s sponsors, mostly local businesses, help with ground improvements but also with accommodating overseas players – common in major- league cricket for decades but hitherto rare in village clubs.

They have even helped some of them find temporary jobs. Unlike many other clubs, Preston doesn’t rely on a bank of retired players to run everything – another reason for its continued success. ‘We run ourselves,’ says Waters. ‘We are all active players, and although it takes up a lot of time, we take great pride in the club.

We all know where the lawnmowers are kept, and we all cut the grass.’To keep the team atmosphere through the winter they arrange activities, such as golf days and hikes, and a ‘Toga Night’ at the pub; a few years ago they even went to an ice-cricket tournament in Estonia. ‘People like to play for a club where they are made to feel welcome.

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