North Devon CC continue fundraiser, line up Cloete signing

South African Malcolm Cloete

South African Malcolm Cloete is set to join North Devon for the 2021 season - Credit: Gerry Hunt

North Devon Cricket Club’s mental health charity fund-raiser has just burst through the £3,000 mark.

The Century Challenge started out as a fun way to keep fit during lockdown and raise money for a good cause at the same time.

Players and friends of the club had to commit to tackling something physical a hundred times and challenged their friends to sponsor them for doing it.

Participants started raising money for Devon Mind in early January and set themselves a £2,000 target. They passed that within five weeks.

Organiser Tom Popham promptly upped the target to £5,000 by the time the season ends in September – and pledges keep pouring in.

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It took barely a fortnight to reach £3,000, helped in large part by Jan Witheridge accepting a challenge to complete a 100km cycle ride.

Jan, who recently retired from her teaching post at West Buckland School near Barnstaple, is the manager of the Tarka Ladies cricket team that plays on the North Devon ground.

Tarka Ladies manager Jan Witheridge

Tarka Ladies manager Jan Witheridge has embraced North Devon CC's Century Challenge - Credit: Tarka Ladies

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Once news got round that Witheridge was planning her cycle marathon, donations to the justgiving website took the running total past £3,000.

Popham said: “Jan has done a great job raising money and she has built a huge awareness of the charity."

Popham and wife Maz committed to running a hundred miles on behalf of the appeal and have carried on running despite completing their challenge three weeks ago.

Matt Dart, a former North Devon captain, was among the first to sign up for the Century Challenge and pledged to perform 10 burpee exercises a day to sift some of the Christmas excesses.

Dart has lost count of how many burpees he has done, but knows what the effect on him as been.

“I don’t know how many I have done but I try to do as many as possible every day,” said Dart.
“I have lost a stone so far and have another stone to go.”

Devon Mind was selected as a cause to raise money for due to the hidden effects on mental health of the Coronavirus pandemic.

*North Devon are expected to confirm South African Malcolm Cloete as their overseas player for the summer ahead, subject to travel restrictions being limited.

Cloete, who plays for Milverton CC in the Eastern Cape, was Heathcoat’s overseas player in 2019 when they won the Tolchards Devon League Premier title and the Devon KO Cup. He took 44 wickets at less than 13 runs each.

When North Devon learned Cloete would be a free agent in 2021 they were quick to register their interest with him.

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