A decade or so ago they were fierce rivals, but now a combined village cricket team is celebrating winning a national award for its community spirit.
Ashmanhaugh and Barton Wanderers Cricket Club was formed in 2012 when the Ashmanhaugh and Norwich Coltishall Wanderers set-ups pooled their resources to become one big happy family.
And they have never looked back.
This year they got through to the national stages of the Voneus Village Cup and are still in the running for a place in the final at Lord’s in September.
“They’ve done so well,” said Jayne Everett, who nominated the club in the contest to find the competition’s Community Legends. “The cup is for teams from places with populations under 10,000, and we’re under 900! The award feels like a really good pat on the back.
“We knew things were going well, but for someone else to say ‘We like what you’re doing’ is really nice.”
The club will certainly have set the bar high for any subsequent winners as it embodies community spirit from top to bottom.
Run by volunteers, the club encourages the locals to join them on match days, and the clubhouse at Barton Turf is used by the parish council and the local bowls club. Joggers and dog walkers also make use of the outfield – a particularly popular facility during lockdown.
Everyone, including the players, mucks in with coaching the juniors, washing the kit, pulling pints in the bar, mowing the pitch… and the whole club has become a hub for two villages with very few other facilities.
And local businesses have taken the club to their hearts, with several sponsors and donors keen to help.
“One chap was at a game and asked how much balls cost. We told him and he said ‘I’d like to pay for those’ and just paid there and then. That’s the sort of support we are really lucky to have,” said Jayne.
The prize for winning the award was £500 to spend on a celebration so the club will be using it for a big do at the end of the season. And everyone is invited.
“We have so many people who come along for a drink on a Friday or Saturday evening or bring a chair and sit and watch the cricket,” said Jayne.
“I’ve no idea where they come from but they’re there every summer!”