Cricket clubs do all sorts of ingenious things to attract new members and keep the ones they have. Cullingworth have done something pretty radical: Free cricket.
No membership fees. No match fees. Plus, you get a playing and training kit. Oh, and free home cricket teas too!
It’s an extraordinary thing to do and I caught up with George Fletcher, Chairman at Cullingworth Cricket Club, to understand the reasons and how they’re able to do it.
1) When did the idea of ‘free cricket’ come about at Cullingworth? Why did you decide to do it?
It was a goal of some of the committee members, who had played different sports at higher levels and never paid to play. With the cost of living, we wanted to try and make cricket free for our current and future members.
“We have good playing numbers at Cullingworth and have come a long way in the last five or six years when we were at one point really struggling.
It’s about doing what we can as a club to make enjoying a sport more affordable or free in this case due to the current climate.”
Have you lost players?
No, we have a good playing membership base… we are hoping to have a third team in the future and want to keep expanding.
2) How on earth are you able to offer no membership fees or match fees, plus free playing and training kit?! Financially, it must be impossible surely?
Our main Senior team sponsor STAL UK Limited has kindly agreed to pay for current match day expenses and also provide the teams with playing and training kit as senior main sponsor which is really generous of them.
We also have a busy bar and clubhouse as well as large fundraising events like Crickfest (music festival) each year.
3) Are there any downsides? Players looking to get a free game rather than contribute to the club?
We implemented free match fees from the second half of this season this year and have not charged annual subs now for the last three years and the impact has been really positive from all the players.
We also have a £15 man-of-the-match bar voucher which has gone down really well.
4) What’s the reaction been and what’s the goal for Cullingworth from this?
The reaction has been great, everyone is so grateful to the club and our sponsors. The goal is to continue moving the club forward and looking at ways to achieve our ambitions.
We have put a lot of work into the club in recent years and invested heavily to improve the clubhouse, ground, equipment and membership base and it’s an exciting time for the club.
Want to join Cullingworth Cricket Club?
It would only be fair to share how you can contact Cullingworth if you want to get involved for 2024.
There are two senior teams in the Halifax Cricket League, as well as a women’s side who have a softball team in the West Yorkshire Women & Girls Cricket League.
- My new book is out: Dales, Bails and Cricket Club Tales - February 24, 2024
- Fantasy Club Cricket: Compete against your teammates this season - February 23, 2024
- Kickstart your season with Village Cricket Co (10% Off) - February 23, 2024