FORMER England captain Mike Gatting put blood, sweat and tears into Heathcoat Cricket Club last year . . . and is urging others to follow suit ahead of the new season.

Next month will see the 13th annual NatWest CricketForce take place with Heathcoat one of a record-breaking 2,014 clubs to sign up.

From today (Friday) to Sunday, thousands of people will clean, tidy, repair and revitalise clubhouses and cricket grounds ahead of the season.

Heathcoat actually held its clear-up day back in September, and this time last year they were graced by the presence of Gatting as he rolled his sleeves up and got stuck in.

Gatting, who played 79 Tests and 92 ODIs for England, and is now the ECB’s Managing Director of Cricket Partnerships, admits he couldn’t recommend the scheme highly enough.

“We were building a new pavilion when I helped out at Heathcoat,” he said.

“If I was interested in coaching a club or watching kids play it has to be one of the prettiest grounds I’ve ever sat on.

NatWest CricketForce is an ECB project helping cricket clubs renovate and improve their facilities before each season with the help of members and their wider communities.

Find out when your local club event is and lend a hand at