The celebrated business guru, Tom Peters, taught that the most effective way to improve was to keep making lots of small changes - that lots of small improvements make a big difference. Within cricketing terms, the cumulative results and impact of such a philosophy are in evidence at North Kildare Cricket Club. A series of smaller projects over the last 3 or 4 years is now seeing rapidly growing membership and an increase in teams to 5 open competition sides, two women's teams, a taverners side and a healthy and growing junior section.
Sat on a larger complex covering 16 acres, the club has made the best use of the various grants and capital grant funding and, with the support of Cricket Leinster, built a 3 lane net some 3 years ago as the first step of an improvement programme. Since then the building of a new scorebox and scoreboard named in honour of the late Gerry Fennell, significant improvements to the square under Dale's watchful eye, additions to maintenance machinery including a triplex outfield mower, and improvements to the pitchside seating areas, all contribute to a better playing and training experience for members delivering something that clubs often forget is important to their members, which is value for money. The 2019 opening of Bear Gym at the club provides further facilities across all sections of the club, although I have serious doubts as to whether a number of our erstwhile 4th team are yet aware of its existence.
Improvement can often have beneficial consequences on the field and certainly the "re-energising" of the club in autumn 2018 saw success in the form of trophies and titles in 2019 but, far more importantly saw members becoming more involved with the club and develop a much stronger sense of "club" and of mutual effort and enjoyment. This, in my opinion, makes fundraising more effective and sponsorship easier to secure, but it also makes the on field successes all the more enjoyable and the disappointments more bearable.
Improvement, as most club volunteers will know, is a never ending quest. Whilst the club, alongside its multi sports partners, has an ambitious long term development plan, the work continues over the Covid winter and into the 2021 season. A second pitch is to be added at The Maws this spring to accommodate growing team numbers and to provide the future capacity for growth in membership. A new groundsman joins the club this year alongside some further equipment as we push to ensure that the playing area is of the highest quality achievable. The large patio is to be fully covered, both to provide additional shelter during matches, and as part of a new plan for the bar and coffee shop at the club throughout the year, and plans are underway to add more grass wickets in 2022 to increase the number of teams, men's and women's, that play on grass.
As an optimistic club volunteer I often list the projects outstanding and think about when "it will all be done". In reality we all know that improvement is a never ending challenge, but it brings its own rewards on a fabulous sunny Saturday afternoon when you actually get a chance to sit down, watch a game and enjoy it all with your clubmates.