By Brian Jeeves
Essex and Southend Sports Trust (EASST) will be celebrating twelve years of fundraising for the development of cricket facilities at Garon Park, Southend, with a three-day festival of international cricket at in mid-June.
The full national squads of the Netherlands and Denmark will be visiting Southend to play an Essex 2nd X1 in one day, 50 over games as preparation for a forthcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) tournament.
The festival starts with Essex hosting the Netherlands on Wednesday, June 14, while the Dutch and Danish sides face each other twenty-four hours later. Denmark faces the Essex XI on Friday 15, in the final match of the ’round-robin’ - All the matches are due to start at 11am.
EASST’s public appeal for funds has resulted in over £450,000 of investment in Garon Park cricket facilities since 2005.
The organisation will host a lunch between innings on Wednesday, and following this, a commemorative board will be unveiled by Southend Mayor Cllr Fay Evans. This will display the names of the 40 or so Garon Park Patrons who have made the most significant contributions to the appeal. Essex CC CEO Derek Bowden and Phillip Tolhurst, trustee of Norman Garon Trust, the owners of the ground, will also be at the lunch.
Admission to the matches is free. Members of the public may join the lunch but must book and pay in advance by no later than Saturday 10 June. The cost is £25 for four courses and a glass of wine and bookings may be made by phoning EASST trustee Joe Sims on 01245 227636 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
EASST Chairman, Peter Butler, said: "Garon Park now has one of, if not the best, cricket square in Essex
Mr Butler added: "Having good facilities is critical to keeping the children of South East Essex interested in the game of cricket".
Garon Park previously hosted ICC Women’s World Cup qualifiers between Scotland and the Netherlands back in 2016 and one hosted County matches as one of Essex’s festival grounds.