It’s hard to believe that a cricket club nearing its centenary could still remain unknown to so many Bramhall residents, but perhaps this is part of Stockport Trinity Cricket Club’s appeal: small, friendly and picturesque, the club is not to be underestimated as it continues to grow and develop.
We caught up with chair Richard Higginbotham to find out about the club’s journey so far and the exciting plans for its future.
“The only way you’d find the club is if you got lost when out walking,” laughs Richard as he recounts how he first stumbled upon the grounds. When moving into a flat back in 1997, Richard heard the beloved sound of a bat hitting a ball. Having been out of the game for a couple of years, the curious cricketer set out in search of what would soon become his second home: Trinity Cricket Club.
At that time, the pitch remained largely unused – save for a quiet game among middle-aged men on a Saturday. Fast-forward to the present day and the turf is trodden seven days a week in the summer months by members and spectators of all ages and abilities.
The ever-expanding junior section has increased from one group to over 100 members, sometimes with over 60 youngsters on the pitch at once! This is partly thanks to the club reaching out to Nevill Road Junior School, inviting children to come along and try the game.
Welcoming a local women’s team to play at the grounds in 2011 was pivotal in the club’s growth. Pleased to see the pitch getting more use, the club didn’t expect that the women’s team would end up performing better than the men’s!
Frequently winning trophies, the Stockport Trinity Women’s XI are amongst the most successful teams in the county. They won their division last year and both cup competitions in 2019. The club is forward thinking and has an open-gender policy: the first eleven opened bowling in a top division game with a female bowler and celebrated a resounding victory.
The club’s chair explains that Stockport Trinity CC places inclusivity is high on its agenda; neither age nor gender are an issue.
Richard comments that “once you get playing, none of that matters”. The club’s truly inclusive nature is also reflected in the fees: “We have a recommended donation, rather than charging a membership fee… there shouldn’t be any barriers to joining. We just want people to love cricket!”
Although play had been halted due to COVID-19, the club remained a valued cornerstone of the community. During lockdown, the grounds have been enjoyed by locals completing their Couch25K training. Junior members made a video to raise money for Chelwood Food Bank, demonstrating club’s team spirit and its support for neighbouring local organisations. The first team captain has even been hosting a regular quiz to keep spirits up!
Richard admits that Trinity is never going to be an elite club – it survives only on volunteer resources. To this end, the club launched a crowdfunding appeal to raise money to upgrade its facilities. Plans include creating patio area with seating for socialising and refreshments (fancy a coffee and a bacon sandwich on a Saturday morning?), new equipment storage, an electric scoreboard and redeveloping the practice nets.
Recently, the club has welcomed scores of 5 to 8-year-olds to its annual All Stars Cricket programme. This eight-week scheme introduces children to the sport, teaches them new skills and encourages them to make new friends. Given the historic success of All Stars, these youngsters are likely to be hooked and become members, hopefully benefitting from the proposed new facilities this coming summer.
It has been an exciting yet nerve-racking time for Stockport Trinity CC, which – as a small-scale club with big plans – is reliant upon donations to get the ball rolling with its plans to provide enjoyment for the community at a time when people need it most.
Stockport Trinity CC would like to thank local supporters who enabled them to smash their target for donations – the Crowdfunding project has now closed.
To find out more, or to get in touch with Richard directly, use the links below: