A cricket club is determined to preserve its status as the highest-ranked in the Dispatch district -- by making giant strides on and off the field.
Papplewick and Linby are struggling to stay in the elite Notts Premier League (NPL) after finishing as low as tenth (of 12) in each of the last two seasons.
And their supremacy locally is being threatened by bioth Rolls-Royce Leisure, who have joined them in the NPL this term (SEE BACK PAGE), and Hucknall, who also have their sights set on a place in the top flight.
But on the eve of the new cricket season this week, Papplewick have unveiled sparkling new facilities at their Papplewick Hall ground and also a cluster of big-name new signings.
The facilities comprise three-lane nets with artificial wickets, costing £42,000, plus covers and groundsheets.
They were bought after Papplewick won £50,000 Olympic Games legacy funding through the National Lottery.
They are one of more than 1,000 sports clubs across the country to benefit from the Inspired Facilities project, which is part of the £150 million Places People Play legacy programme.
“We did well to be awarded the maximum grant,” said one of Papplewick’s vice-chairmen, Neil South.
“The nets are as good as anything in the NPL and the whole area .
“We have never tapped into external funding before. But one of our members, Catherine McCann, took it on as a project and drove it forward.
“The new facilities give us a massive opportunity to move forward, develop our players and compete in the NPL
“The only way to survive and progress is by developing your own homegrown players. Our junior section is thriving now, and we have a conveyor belt of youngsters coming through.”
Fellow vice-chairman, Robin Rhodes, preached the same message, pointing out that most of Papplewick’s players for the new campaign will be under the age of 25.
However, they have made conscious efforts to strengthen their squad in a bid to climb the league.
Gone are last season’s captain, Matt Dowman, who has joined Caythorpe, and swashbuckling South African Warren Nel. In as the new skipper is 34-year-old batsman Lou Vincent, who won 23 Test caps for New Zealand, making a century on his debut in 2002 against Australia.
Vincent, who had spells with four clubs in county cricket, also holds the record for the highest score (172) by a New Zealander in a one-day international.
Papplewick’s second professional will be 20-year-old off-spinner Jack McIver, who is on trial at Notts CCC. While other new faces include batsmen Norman Brackley and Doug Morton and left-arm spinner Kieron McComb.
“It’s fantastic to have another local side in the league with us,” said Rhodes,.
“I am confident we have an exciting, stronger group. After a couple of quiet years, we need to consolidate in mid-table and build again.”