The first presentation of the evening came from Geoff Newman, president of Harpenden Cricket Club. He said its 700 members included 400 young people. They played on three grounds, at Rothamsted Research and St George’s School, as well as on their own pitch on Harpenden Common, where its 45-year-old pavilion was due to be replaced before long. Geoff added that the club was actively involved in promoting cricket in local schools, including the new academy in Vaughan Road. But, he added (a common theme of the evening) there was a need for more coaches.
Harpenden Town Football Club (HTFC), which plays in the South Midlands League, was founded as long ago as 1891, said chairman Roman Motyczak. For it to flourish as its members wish, investment of £500,000 was needed, he said, to install an all-weather surface, as well as floodlights, at the ground, adjacent to Rothamsted Park. Other plans include the setting up of an associated ladies’ football club.
Many members of Harpenden Colts, aged 8 to 17, naturally aspired to become HTFC players, indicated Colts’ vice-chairman Ed Venner at the meeting. He reported a thriving membership of around 900, including about 100 girls, adding that the club went out of its way to accommodate disabled youngsters. It enjoyed the volunteer services of some 140 coaches, including many parents. Because the club had no ‘home’ of its own, it had to find some £45,000 a year to hire pitches, some of those outside the town. It was hoped that a partnership with Roundwood Park School would lead to the provision of all-weather playing facilities, with funding assistance from the Football Association, though planning permission at the school had yet to be granted. But, said Ed, Colts’ overriding requirement was for a permanent ‘home’, of the kind taken for granted by other sports clubs.