The South Western Districts Cricket Board (SWDCB) in the past financial year (2012/13) spent significant resources in enhancing the total spectrum of club cricket in the province. According to SWDCB President, Mr Rudi Claassen, club cricket forms the foundation of cricket structures in the province and is the SWD’s strategic plan directed to provide opportunities for effective and active participation for all affiliated clubs to enhance a competitive cricket culture.
At present twenty-five clubs – covering the total geographical area within the boundaries of the province – are affiliated to the SWDCB. According to Claassen, the financial support towards clubs is essential for the sustainment of cricket in the province and the SWDCB invested in various projects and programs. The expenditure to clubs increased from R265,000 in 2011/12 to R870,000 in 2012/13. This figure made provision for an increase in grants to clubs but specific infrastructure projects (playing and practice facilities), investment in coaching programs, provision of pitch covers, cricket and training equipment, cricket balls for leagues, transport grants as well as maintenance projects.
Besides the contribution from the SWDCB, which is primarily done with dedicated funding from Cricket South Africa, more than R500,000 was also spent on club capacity building projects with allocated funding from the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund. “We succeeded in covering the entire geographical area including projects at Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, George, Kranshoek, Beaufort West, Mossel Bay, Melkhoutfontein, Heidelberg, Riversdale, Albertinia, Ladismith, Calitzdorp and Oudtshoorn”, said Claassen. The SWDCB, also for the first time secured a sponsorship in the form of prize money for the respective league winners.
He also speaks with great excitement about a Club Excellence program where clubs were awarded with financial incentives in reaching specific objectives in an outcomes based funding program. This program placed an emphasis in proper administrative and governance structures at clubs as well as the training and recruitment of officials such as umpires, scorers, coaches and ground staff. A further nine clubs will join the club development program this season. This is an initiative that is funded by the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport.