Middleton Cricket Club

CRICKETER BRIAN TOWNER moved to Middleton-on-Sea in 1982 when he was working for the Sussex Police force in Bognor Regis. His job and his family kept him very busy but he still found time for Middleton Cricket Club.
The club has gone from strength to strength and over twenty years later Brian continues to help local youngsters learn to play cricket and share his love of the game. Middleton has earnt English Cricket Board (ECB) clubmark status and its ground is considered to be one of the top five in Sussex.
To mark his huge commitment Brian was awarded an Outstanding Contribution to Cricket Coaching in Sussex Award in 2013. Here he tells Felpham in Focus his Middleton story.

Q: Why did you get involved with Middleton Cricket Club?
Brian says: “When my eldest son started playing cricket in 1995 I wanted to help the club as much as I could alongside my full-time job.
I played for my local club in Brighton as a young boy and Sussex County Under-16s and 17s and having completed all my cricket
coaching badges with the English Cricket Board (ECB), I wanted to give something back.
Middleton went through some difficult times and we wanted to put a structure in place to give support to and encourage local players, particularly the juniors.
We joined the Chance to Shine scheme set up by Sussex County Cricket Board which funded state school cricket coaching and the club began to grow again.”

Q: How did success start to happen at Middleton Cricket Club?
Brian says: “We believed that the youngsters were more likely to enjoy their cricket and have more fun if they were well-managed and received top quality coaching.
It was great to see young local people have access to a sport they hadn’t done before and develop skills that will help them throughout their lives. We’d always had junior sides at Middleton but they were growing up and moving into senior cricket and we needed more children coming in at the bottom.
Now we have teams from Under-9 to Under-15 and in some age groups we have two teams. Now we hope that these juniors will stay on and move in to our senior squads (the Academy, 1st and 2nd teams) who play in the Sussex County Premier League.
We are so grateful to our sponsors Bailiffscourt Hotel and Spa and our Vice Presidents Club as well as our fantastic partner, Great Ballard School, who not only gives us financial support but the use of their facilities and scholarships across the board. They have all helped raise our game.”

Q: How can that success be sustained in 2016?
Brian says: “It’s absolutely vital that we retain our young players and support all our teams with a high standard of coaching. I have a wonderful coaching team - Will Burrows, Neil Pacey, Harry Pacey, Andrew Harvey, Sean Heather, John Davies, Phil Price and many senior players who regularly give up their time to coach the juniors as well as attend training courses. But as we have become more successful Middleton Cricket Club has grown and now we need to recruit more helpers to join this amazing club and help us keep the momentum up.”

Q: How can the local community help?
Brian says: “Boys and girls out there who would like to have a go at cricket. Get in touch. If you have played cricket and would like to start playing again - we have a team you can join and all standards are welcome. If you would like to train as a cricket coach we can help fund and support you or if you want to be a coaching ‘helper’ there is space! If you would like to try your hand at scoring, cricket ground maintenance or just come and have a drink and watch a game of cricket on a Saturday, Sunday or midweek - everyone is
welcome. Event organisers, fundraisers and party planners - we need you too!
It’s great fun to be involved here and no contribution is too small. Our cricket force weekend is 9-10 April when anyone can drop in to find out more about the club or come to our Quiz Night on Saturday 9th April. We would love to see you there.”

Who do we contact to find out more?
If you are interested in junior cricket email Brian at brian.towner@btinternet.com
For senior cricket, the Quiz Night and any other aspects of the club contact Cricket Club Secretary Ian Burrows burrowsmcc@hotmail.co.uk or 07917 603 085
Next month Brian will flag up some exciting news about a new ex-professional
senior team coach joining Middleton Cricket Club @MiddletonCC
Interview by Kate Stewart
NOW Every Wednesday from 5.30pm until 6.45pm - junior cricket coaching has started at Arundel Castle Indoor Cricket School.
Sunday 6th March 5pm – for five weeks - Senior coaching winter nets start at
Littlehampton School.
Sunday 24th April - 1pm at Middleton CC - Middleton Cricket Club’s 1st Round of national cup against Burridge at home.
Saturday 30th April at Middleton CC 12pm and 3.30pm - Both 1st and 2nd teams play Worthing at home in the 1st round of the Sussex Premier Cricket League T20/20.