EXCLUSIVE: Departing chairman Plume revels in Wisbech Town Cricket Club’s remarkable turnaround

WHEN Gavin Plume took over as chairman in 2003, Wisbech Town Cricket Club were on the brink of folding. Finances were tight, players were leaving and the club’s youth system had deteriorated.

But eight years later, as Plume prepares to hand over the reins, the club is thriving. Their facilities are impressive, they have enough players to run four successful senior teams and they coach 120 junior members.

The remarkable turnaround has delighted Plume, who announced that he would be stepping down at Wisbech’s presentation night this month.

The 34-year-old said: “When I became chairman the club was very close to folding - not a lot of people know that it got that bad. It was a complete mess and the club had run away from us.

“I was grateful for the way the club brought me on and I wanted to give something back so I took over. It was very daunting at first. I remember sitting in the pavilion and I really didn’t know what to do.

“I just said I would give my best, I cared about the club and I wouldn’t let it go under. That first year we were just finding our feet but the difference now is incredible.”

Wisbech’s first team have established themselves as a force in the Tucker Gardner Premier Division but it is the club’s youth set-up that Plume is most proud of.

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“When I took over we had one youth side made up of all ages and we didn’t enter any competitions,” he said. “Now we have 120 junior members, six youth sides and we’ve just held our sixth successful cricket week for youngsters.

“These are achievements I’m very proud of. I didn’t have that sort of opportunity when I was that age and now I’ve played a part in giving others that chance.”

Batsman Plume, who plays for the club’s second team, praised the work of the committee and said he would remain a dedicated servant of the club. His replacement is likely to be revealed at Wisbech’s annual meeting in February.

“I’m not going to walk away,” he said. “I still hope to play and I want to stay on the committee but the moment has come for me to step down.

“I just can’t dedicate the time that I could eight years ago and the last thing I wanted to be was a chairman who didn’t do anything.

“There’s enough people at the club now that have got the passion I had eight years ago. It’s someone else’s turn to take us forward.

“I’ve got all the faith in the world for the people who run this club and I’m still happy to roll my sleeves up whenever I’m needed. This club is in good hands.”