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Out Of The Ashes

Jon Waring reports on how his local side, Stock Cricket Club, is overcoming the destruction caused by a close-season fire and highlights the importance of ensuring your club’s insurance policy is fully up to date.

Being woken up at 7am on a Sunday morning by a phone call telling you your cricket club pavilion is on fire isn’t the best way to start the day. But that’s how Sunday February 5 began for Stock Cricket Club’s esteemed president Peter “Woody” Woodward.

Thankfully, a villager who was on their way to work had discovered the fire 20 minutes earlier and called the fire brigade, who managed to arrive in time to battle the snowy weather conditions, and the blaze, and ensure it was extinguished before the whole pavilion was destroyed. Had that been the case then it may well have signalled the end for a club that has been at the heart of the Essex village’s community since 1769.

Despite the extensive damage to the pavilion caused by a fire source, which has been declared as ‘undetermined’ by Essex Fire & Rescue, the real damage was inflicted when it was discovered that the club’s insurance policy had not been updated for several years. Insurance investigators estimated the cost of the damage to be around £45,000, with large sections of the pavilion walls having to be removed and rebuilt.

With the overall assessed value of the building being £90,000, unfortunately the club’s out-dated insurance policy undervalued its main asset by £40,000, insuring the building for £50,000. This means the insurance company will only pay out 5/9 of the cost of the damage, leaving the club with a £20,000 shortfall to pay for the repairs.

Stock Cricket Club's pavilion was damaged in a fire

All of a sudden there are huge obstacles for a village club to overcome. But club members and the committee have been extremely proactive in clearing up, and moving on, from the fire. Work days, inspired by valuable schemes such as NatWest CricketForce and initiatives such as the ECB’s Build Center programme have brought the club together to clear the debris caused by the blaze.

The club have also been thankful for the support shown by Essex County Cricket Board, who got in touch just a few days after the fire, and have assisted in suggesting contingency plans and fundraising ideas to generate the much-needed cash. Extra fundraising events will run throughout the summer, including hosting Jubilee weekend celebrations, encouraging third-party sponsorship, and the annual President’s Day, which will feature an appearance from Essex allrounder Graham Napier as part of his benefit year celebrations on July 1.

All will be vital elements in sustaining the success of our unique village club, which boasts four Saturday league teams, two Sunday teams, a midweek veterans’ side, a Twenty20 team, and a thriving colts section – a remarkable achievement for such a small club.

It is also important that the club continues to plan for the future, and it is hoped that the pavilion repairs will be finished by the middle of the season. As a club that has seen much accelerated growth in recent years, the adversity Stock CC has faced in recent months acts as a timely reminder for cricket committees and community amateur sports clubs across the country. Ensure your assets are insured for the correct amount or risk jeopardising your future.

Ultimately though, it is the passion and enthusiasm of the members and players that has helped the club to move on from what has happened and allow it to look forward to a successful future.

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