It’s an historic cricket club and sports ground, where the sound of leather on willow has rung out for more than 100 years, saved for its community by a team of committed locals.
That’s why Wards Solicitors could not be prouder or more delighted to be Bristol YMCA Cricket Club’s main sponsor for 2019.
Tucked away in green and leafy Henleaze, it’s hard to imagine that back in 1946, nearly 4,000 spectators packed into the tiny ground to see one of England and Gloucestershire’s finest ever batsmen, Wally Hammond, make an appearance.
Out for six
Yet just ten-years-ago, its future looked bleak. Its owner, Bristol YMCA, had a pension deficit and with the field its’ last remaining asset, reluctantly came to the conclusion that it must be sold.
With fears growing that the field could be lost for ever, a group of local cricketers set up a new company, Golden Hill Sports, registered for charitable status and set about successfully raising £230,000 to save it for the community.
Golden Hill Sports is now giving a new lease of life to Bristol YMCA Cricket Club, which has kept its original name despite no longer having any connections with the charity. The ground can now only ever be used as a sports field.
Strength to strength
Still one of the city’s biggest clubs, and one of the oldest, it is one of the few to field five league teams on a Saturday and runs an extensive girls and boys youth programme as well as a successful women’s side.
In addition, Golden Hill Sports has a thriving football set-up, The Sonics, which has a team in the Bristol and Suburban League as well as a number of youth teams. It also has a hugely popular social club.
Wards Solicitors’ Partner, Tom Scoffham, also manager of the nearby Henleaze office, feels strongly that the club plays an essential role in local life.
Passion for sport
He says: “Grassroots sport is vital to a community and as a father of three young boys, I know how important it is for children to get the opportunity to develop their passion for sport in community clubs such as Bristol YMCA Cricket Club.
“As a massive sports fan, when the opportunity arose to support the local community cricket club, I was keen for Wards Solicitors to become involved and here in the Henleaze office, we really couldn’t be prouder of our partnership with Golden Hill Sports and look forward to some exciting times ahead.”
What’s happening next?
As well as hosting a stall at this summer’s Henleaze Party in the Park, a community event that raises money to pay for the upkeep of the field, staff in Wards Solicitors’ Henleaze office are looking forward to attending social events arranged by the club throughout the year.
In addition, the friendly cricket match held regularly between Wards Solicitors and Christie & Co, a specialist advisor in buying and selling businesses, will take place at the club in July with Tom very much hoping that a change in venue might result in a rare victory for his team.
Bristol YMCA Cricket Club
A spokesperson for the club says: “We are absolutely delighted to have Wards Solicitors as our main club sponsor, including being the main shirt sponsor for all our adult cricket teams.
“We are also really excited to announce that all our junior teams will now be wearing coloured kit for the coming season, again with Wards Solicitors as the main shirt sponsor on all coloured shirts and jumpers.
“We are very much looking forward to a great season ahead.”