Congresbury Cricket's 175th anniversary is such a huge celebration says Wilkins
PUBLISHED: 12:30 28 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:36 01 July 2019
Kath Wilkins says it is a huge celebration of Congresbury Cricket Club as they started a series of events with a book launch last Friday night.
Produced and designed by Bristol Books, 175 Years of Village Cricket by Clive Burlton looks at life in Somerset through Victorian and Edwardian eras to the present day.
Former England internatoinal Wilkins was among the guests last Friday at the Old Schools Rooms and said: "It's a huge celebration. I was lucky enough to be part of the 150th years ago so it's great to be part of the 175th as well.
"Growing up in Congresbury, cricket was a fundamental part of being a child growing up in the village. Whatever sport was being played, cricket was the centre of that (and) village cricket was the heart of everything we did, It's great to be part of."
Wilkins started her career for Congresbury Under-11s and went on to play for Somerset Wanderers, since renamed Bath Wanderers after joing forces with Bath CC and creating a ladies section, at the age of 15.
After representing Somerset, Wilkins moved up through the ranks before winning the European Cup with England on tour in Denmark.
But she will always remember her time with Congresbury, adding: "The Congresbury club is growing from strength to strength - I keep an eye on their results.
"It's the heart of the village whatever sport that is, whether it's football or cricket. It's going to be a great turnout and there's a dinner as well in a couple of weeks time which I know will absolutely be represented."
With women's cricket on the rise, Wilkins says it's good to see women playing with men which will help the sport progress.
"It's a huge step forward. When I was playing it wasn't really the done thing, but now women playing with men is the best way to learn because it makes you a better player because you are up against very strong opponents.
"It certainly helps the overall game for women. Women's cricket is growing from strength to strength, there's women's cricket on Sky Sports now which is absolutely huge.
"They're on paid contracts, you can be a professional women's cricketer. That wasn't around when I was playing."
With a series of events still to come to celebrate the club's 175th landmark, Wilkins says the success is all down to people giving up their time to help the club grow.
"It takes a lot of volunteers to be able to keep these clubs going in this day and age," she added.
"It's an even harder battle to get people leaving school and joining clubs where there are plenty of things going on.
"In terms of Congresbury Cricket Club I take my metaphoric cap off to them. It is a huge achievement to be celebrating 175 years."