PCA PRESS RELEASE
How a visit from a team of England legends revitalised a local Lake District club.
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When Storm Desmond ravaged the west coast of the UK in late 2015, local cricket club Cockermouth CC was left devastated.
Almost five years later, and with the help of a visit from the PCA England Masters, the club where international star Ben Stokes learned his trade is back on its feet and thriving, despite the setback of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The visit from the PCA England Masters, sponsored by Greene King IPA, took place on 10 August 2017 and attracted a crowd of over 2,000 to Cockermouth’s home Sandair ground.
With the club’s most famous son in attendance, the exhibition Masters match and accompanying fundraising lunch helped to raise £30,000, all of which was directly reinvested into Cockermouth CC.
Club Captain Gareth White explains that the “game-changing” amount has been used to put in place preventive measures to limit the impact of any future flooding. The club has also invested in a new beer garden facility which regularly accommodates over 500 spectators on matchdays.
“On that day in 2017, we benefited from every aspect of the PCA’s involvement, which helped us to raise somewhere in the region of £30,000,” White recalls.
“The Masters game came on the back of that flooding we suffered in the years before, and it went a long way towards helping us to replace things that needed replacing.
“We can’t stop the flooding happening, but we have been able to put money towards pavilion improvements, making sure our cellar is watertight, as well as machinery for general ground use.”
White explains that on top of the money raised on the day, the Masters game has also had a residual effect when it comes to keeping Cockermouth CC at the centre of its local community.
“We were lucky enough to win on the day, so people are still talking about that Masters game three years on.
“The day itself was unbelievable. There was a lot of planning and preparation, especially with the media attention surrounding Ben being the figurehead of the day, but once that was all in place it was all just about enjoying the day and taking every aspect of it in.
“My favourite player growing up was Mark Ramprakash, who was captaining the PCA England Masters, so for me it was like a dream come true really, to be able to captain the opposing side.
“It was nice for me as one of the older guys, but for the younger lads in the team it was absolutely magnificent for them in terms of the cricket side of things, getting to play against some of the legends of the game.”
“Cockermouth is a special club with so many dedicated people involved and it does go to show how a local club can work with its community to be a force for good."
White and Cockermouth will be hoping that one of those youngsters can be inspired by the visit of the Masters and develop into the next Stokes.
The club is still very important to England’s Test vice-captain – he was made a life member in 2019, in part for his services to the club in bringing the PCA England Masters to Cockermouth two years before.
“The day the PCA England Masters travelled to play at Cockermouth is a day I will never forget,” Stokes said.
“That is where I began my cricketing journey so to have the chance to help the club which suffered so badly from the flooding crisis of 2015 was a privilege.
“The club raised £30,000 from hosting the Masters which is an incredible amount of money for any club and to see how they have invested that money to secure their future is what is most pleasing.
“Cockermouth is a special club with so many dedicated people involved and it does go to show how a local club can work with its community to be a force for good and this was revitalised through hosting the Masters in 2017.”