MUSICALS maestro Sir Tim Rice helped Fernhurst Cricket Club celebrate the unveiling of its new state-of-the-art bowling nets.
An avid cricket enthusiast, the lyricist and broadcaster has been connected with Fernhurst Cricket Club for more than 35 years bringing teams to play the village side.
And on Sunday, Sir Tim – whose new musical From Here to Eternity opens in the West End in September – brought his wandering club the Heartaches, to play against Fernhurst’s Sunday side.
A full day of cricket was completed when he officially opened the nets in the tea break of the match.
Barry Wood, chairman of the trustees of the Recreation Ground welcomed the crowd and explained that the new nets were part of the redevelopment of the ground with tennis courts, football pitch and now the double set of nets and bowling machine.
Michael Brown, West Sussex county councillor for Fernhurst who had helped raise the funds, presented the chairman with a commemorative glass plaque commissioned from Nina Mills.
Manu Pezier, club chairman thanked all those connected with the club from playing, making teas, preparing the wicket, clearing up and coming to watch.
After tea players and spectators strolled across to the nets to admire them and see Sir Tim unveil the plaque.
He has been connected with Fernhurst since he first played there in 1976 and said he always enjoyed the days with close matches every time – on Sunday however the Heartaches won by eight wickets.
As soon as it was officially opened the juniors were back practicing their batting against a machine that can bowl up to 99mph.
Earlier in the day there had been two in-house matches, under 14 hardball and an under 11 soft ball both played on slightly shorter wickets.
Players batted in pairs, everyone bowled, some parents topped up numbers and the individual winners were Harry Simmonds and Ben Vass. It is planned to have more inter-club matches during the summer.