New facilities open with tributes to club stalwart

The squads who took part in the memorial cricket game.
The squads who took part in the memorial cricket game.

Gala Cricket Club recently remembered one of its best players on the same day it opened a series of new facilities.

The club’s new artificial wicket, sightscreens and changing room were officially opened by CricketScotland chairman Tony Brian and Jamie Crooks, the grandson of Ian Crooks, who passed away in April.

Ian was an honorary president of the Meigle Park club and former Scottish Cricket Union president, and was regarded as a fine all-rounder at a time when Gala dominated Borders cricket.

In his memory, the current Gala CC squad took on a veterans team on the new artificial wicket, with heavy rain meaning a draw was the final result.

The day also saw an under 14 game between Gala and Selkirk also on the artificial, which the visitors won on the last ball, while an All Stars Cricket session also took place with five to eight year-olds from both clubs.

Gala CC secretary Kenny Paterson said: “Our artificial wicket will ensure we can provide cricket to people across the community and ages – we have so far played five senior and junior games since the wicket was introduced in June, including our first Social Sixes tournament for two years.

“Our new sightscreens ensure we can play in the East Championship in the long term and allow us to host more youth representative matches.

“And our new changing room has been used by umpires in the Championship, and will be used by female players as we look to diversify our playing membership.

“Our facilities project has also allowed use to purchase new grass-cutting machinery to ensure our juniors and seniors have the best grass wickets possible to train and play on.

Mr Paterson said the club had expressed thanks for help with the venture to Awards for All Scotland, Clubsport Ettrick and Lauderdale, Rowan Boland Memorial Trust, Scottish Power and Tesco Bags of Help, plus Andy Kelly at SportScotland, Ian Sandbrook at CricketScotland, Linda Cornwall at Scottish Borders Council and John McBay at Live Borders.

“We hope these new facilities can help the club develop the next batch of talent to follow in the footsteps of Ian Crooks,” added Mr Paterson.