OLICANIAN Cricket Club will open the doors to their new clubhouse when the building officially opens on Sunday 22nd May.
The open day will see an Olicanian Select XI and a team of overseas players from across the Aire Wharfe League compete for a trophy containing two charred cricket bails which have been mounted in oak and glass.
The deposits were salvaged from the wreckage of the old clubhouse and are all that remains of the old clubhouse and its contents following an arson attack in August 2019.
The game for the Olicanian Ashes will start at 1:30 p.m., with the official opening taking place at 1 p.m.
Club chairman Mick Christopher said: “We are delighted to be able to open the building to the general public. We have received tremendous support from so many people and organizations during this difficult time and this is our way of saying thank you.
“We want people to come from far and wide to see our new home and we hope they like what they see.”
The Olicanian Ashes Trophy is the work of cabinetmaker Ben Rhydding Brent Thompson who used the bails as the centerpiece of the trophy. It was his way, he says, of supporting the club in their hour of need but, like the original Ashes, this new trophy will remain on English soil, regardless of the outcome of the day.
“We are grateful to Brent for this beautifully crafted trophy. This is the first new memory of the club. It will stay firmly in the new pavilion, win or lose,” Mr Christopher said.
The open day will also feature the Otley Brass Band entertaining the crowd before the start of play and, again, during the tea interval.
“It will be a great day for all of us at the cricket club, and an emotional day. The pavilion will be named the ‘David House Pavilion’ in memory of our former chairman who passed away in December. He will not be far from our thoughts,” said said Mr. Christopher.
The same goes for the club’s main sponsor, Tony Jefferies, who also died during the winter. Former Isle of Man TT winner Mr Jefferies was Olicanian’s main sponsor for many years and the club’s new bar is named after him.
The pavilion took around 15 months to build and cost over half a million pounds. The construction was funded by a variety of donations, an insurance indemnity and financial support from the England and Wales Cricket Board and Sport England.
ECB’s Sue Redfern said: “Alongside Sport England’s investment, we are delighted that the Olicanoans have been able to rebuild their clubhouse.
“Upgrading their facilities to make them more flood resistant in these difficult climatic times and adopting a design that makes the club more attractive to all members of the Ilkley community means the club will have the possibility of developing its activities in the years to come.
“We would especially like to thank the volunteers who worked tirelessly on this reconstruction for several years. It was their hard work that made this project possible.
The design of the pavilion is the work of Ilkley architect Bill Horsley. Addingham builder Nick Kenyon was the main contractor.