Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club and Shelford Rugby Club to forge partnership
Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club and Shelford Rugby Club will usher in the new year with a joint partnership.
Little more than three miles separate the two, and the seasonal variation means that they have identified the opportunity to work together to grow their respective clubs.
Sawston & Babraham have been promoted to the East Anglian Premier League, and it was their captain, Dan Heath, that initially came up with the concept.
There is already a crossover with Shelford first-team players Lewis Cracknell and Alex Long playing for Sawston & Babraham thirds in the summer, and a number of others play for the respective third and fourth teams at both clubs.
“I reached out to Shelford because, geographically, they are the next biggest sports club near where we are,” said Heath.
“As far as we can tell, there are no other clubs locally doing something similar. It fits our remit of trying to do things a bit different to the norm and provide opportunities that others aren’t.
“We share a few members already, a few of the lads who play in our twos and threes also play rugby at the club. We’ve had a few of our social functions there during the winter.
“It just felt it was an ideal link between the two clubs and that we could learn a lot from each other. They have a massive membership so are obviously doing something right in that sense, and have a lot more numbers than us.
“What we’re doing from a performance perspective in terms of our first team, maybe we can exchange ideas.”
Sawston & Babraham run four Saturday sides, one on a Sunday and two in midweek, while Shelford run five senior teams and have a burgeoning youth set-up.
The two will promote each other to sponsors and members on social media platforms.
“The junior section is massive there and our junior section is OK but could be a lot better and we hope by working together that will be the case,” said Heath.
“We will run coaching stuff for kids together and do all sorts of events together.
“Stronger together than apart, basically.”
Shelford rugby development officer Will Cotterill, who is also interim head coach, said: “We’re both clubs that aspire to be very prominent in the community, through cricket and rugby.
“We’re starting to reach out into schools, we’re linking with ARU, the university, we’ve got satellite clubs starting here for disadvantaged youths to come here on a Friday night and play a bit of touch rugby, have a tea and a laugh.
“We want to be a big part of the community, and so do Sawston & Babraham. The link is there with us trying to be active in the community, work with the community, get the kids enjoying sport.
“If we can help each other out, and get some of our rugby youth playing cricket and more of their cricket youth playing rugby, then great. The seasons are a perfect handover. If we can actively support each other with that link it would be fantastic, so that is what we’re going to work towards.”