Midi Cricket Club is preparing for the biggest day since its birth in the Languedoc 12 years ago – the official opening of its new ground and pitch in Pouzolles on Sunday, 23 April.
A group of stalwart committee members and players, led by new President James Luckes and former President Colin Trickett, has been hard at work over the past month, mowing and rolling the former football pitch and laying a new track ahead of its first home league match against Mansle on Sunday, 7 May.
“It’s been a huge task,” said Mr Luckes. ”We have had to lay more than eight tonnes of gravel, sand, cement and lime for the 30 metre track base.”
With an interest-free loan from France Cricket, the club has been able to buy a new UK-made Playrite synthetic cricket surface which will be played on for the first time with a social friendly on 23 April – an open day featuring fish and chips from 12 noon and a bar with beers, wines and soft drinks.
“It’s open to all and we particularly welcome the local people from Pouzolles who have made all this possible,” said Secretary Reg Gratton.
It was the Mairie of Pouzolles that stepped in to save Midi, the only active cricket club in the Languedoc, and provide the new ground after it lost its home at St Pons de Mauchiens.
Midi had played at St Pons for over 10 years but moved out last November when the local tambourin club was given the go-ahead by the St Pons Mairie to use the club’s ground for a sport which needs a rolled earth strip of at least 80mx15m.
“It was impossible to share so we decided we had to go and we faced the real threat of extinction until Pouzolles stepped in and offered us a ground in Route de Roujan,” said Mr Luckes.
The club built up a good relationship with the local community in St Pons and established a junior programme some years ago with the result that it now has two young French players as permanent fixtures in the senior team.
“We are keen to become part of the Pouzolles community, something we achieved in St Pons, and we are sure that there are not only a number of expatriates in the area keen on giving their support to the club, but also local French residents who will be interested in finding out about this strange English game,” Reg Gratton said.
The season ahead has been given a significant boost with the decision taken at last November’s AGM of the region’s cricket governing body ACCSO ( Association des Clubs de Cricket de Sud-Ouest) to merge the northern and southern pools into one division bringing together a potential eight clubs. Matches will be played in May, June and July.
Club Captain Ankush Lal is also excited about the forthcoming season with a new ground and reinvigorated league season. But he said the club needed a strong squad of players and the recruitment of new blood was vital if the club was to succeed at its new venue. He was optimistic that the new location in Pouzolles would attract potential players to the team and urged anyone interested to come along to the practise sessions before the first home match on 7 May.
“These will be advertised on the website – midicricket.com – and anyone keen on playing for Midi is welcome.”
The new ground address is: Route de Roujan, 34480 Pouzolles,Third exit on first roundabout from Roujan, First right at Stade sign (about 100m).
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