The only thing that was wrong with watching cricket at LWSC in 1988 was the constant sun in your eye’s this was due to the Pavilion being situated on the southern boundary of the ground. When a year or so later the Leek Wootton WMC went bump the most natural thing to do was to buy it because the building was situated on the north west of the ground so the sun is behind you.
So on a very dark and rainy in October 1989 we sat in the old working men’s club at a bench to negotiate a deal. I remember the rain running down my neck through a leak in the roof but we did the deal. We bought it for £5,000 pounds.
The building was approximately four times bigger than the old one; a challenge. Those days I ran a small building firm with my son Tim who also played cricket for the club, both being carpenters we looked forward to doing the job. Within a week I drew up some plans and showed them to the committee who approved them and we were ready to start. Stan and Tony Rollins arranged the finance and we were off. The building we were renovating was a wooden structure with windows all one side with the entrance on the other. It consisted of an outside cedar cladding on a 3” X 2” stud with plasterboard on the inside; there wasn’t any insulation in it. We took the windows out of the car park side and put a new wall all around the inside affording 6” of insulation. Next we put a new entrance door in the south end and four big windows and a patio door to the pitch side.
Next problem was the toilets, the drains had no fall so we moved them to get a greater run.
The electrics were antiquated and needed renewing, and of course the roof was still leaking at the bottom of a 9” bow.
To cure this we passed a rope through both sides and twisted it around till the roof was level then we built the studding for the toilets and the studding for the committee room. In the roof we built a box beam that rested on both studs, in the centre of the beam we built a 4”x4” wooden post which incorporated in the seat below. When we released the rope the roof stayed where it was. It was felted and we were in the dry. All the time we were doing the building we were being helped by all and sundry
A long time servant of the club Malcolm Barnett who was and still is the grounds man worked at Benfordswho made diggers, Malcolm borrowed one and promptly buried himself whilst still in the cab. My wife Sandra and her partner Diane made all the curtains and hung them, they also got the upholsterers to do the seats that we built. Another great friend Tony Rollins worked with us all through.
Time stops for no man and we were getting quite close to our opening time the 27th April 1990 the start of the season.
Finances were also getting tight we still had the bar and the decoration to do. We decided to do above the bar in ply and stain it to keep the cost down, after finishing it I realised it looked like a coffin. The ceiling proved to be a problem. Too costly to plaster so we Artexed it; three chaps brushing it on and one patterning it.
The next problem to raise its ugly head was, although we were on track with the building, the changing rooms were still attached to the old pavilion. So out with the concrete mixer and before we went home we had laid the concrete base, which was well after 10pm. The next worry was to get the changing rooms up to the other side of the field, luckily they were bolted together so we unbolted them, marked the sections and stacked them. Those days I had a little Japanese van, we put the sections on the roof, one at a time, and got them up like that. Within three days we had erected it, done the roof and also plumbed in the showers.
On the 26th April 1990 the liquor license ceased at the old clubs so at 10pm some members to mark the occasion walked across the pitch carrying bottles, as they opened the door I put the final screw in the seats. J Baxter our President at the time with the Mayor of Warwick Mr G Guest declared it open.
We won the game.
The lease from the Trustees on the old pavilion stated that we must within a year clear the ground of the old building which I thought might be a problem but every cloud has a silver lining one of our cricketers S Mitchell used to play for a team from Leeds called Shadwell, they came to play us that summer when I learned that they hadn’t got a pavilion. I suggested that they came back in the winter with a lorry and I would have the old building sectioned up for them to take away and rebuild on their ground this they did and the following summer we opened it before playing them at Leeds. In the clubhouse we have a watercolour of the old club, an old player and benefactor had commissioned. We took a print off this and I presented this to the team so they could see how the club was originally.