Warwickshire County Cricket Club has a loyal Membership base who follow the Bears both through the good times and the tough.
Many have their own unique stories from following the Bears over the years, from the ‘I was there moments’, to the special feeling of being a Warwickshire Member and supporting their county at Edgbaston.
In the second part of our new feature #BearsFamily, we tell the Membership story of Sophie Walker, who fell in love with cricket during that famous Ashes summer of 2005.
Sophie has now been a Member for five years and says she loves the experience of watching and supporting Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
“Every time I come down to Edgbaston to watch Warwickshire it’s a fantastic experience,” Sophie said. “We tend to sit in the lovely new South Stand, and obviously the Tom Dollery Members Lounge. There’s some fantastic food on offer and the views, no matter where you sit, are exquisite.
“I’ve enjoyed being a Member for around five years now. I’m 26 years old and I was completely taken in by cricket after the 2005 Ashes, that iconic series that captivated everybody and obviously the Edgbaston Test match where it went down to just two runs.
“That’s when I first witnessed the atmosphere at Edgbaston. It’s five minutes down the road from my local cricket club and it all started from there really.”
It was the opportunity to watch one player in particular that encouraged Sophie to become a Member at Warwickshire.
“It was Ian Bell really,” she recalled. “He was one of the younger members of the 2005 side, but I remember that I just wanted to see more of him batting.”
When recalling her favourite Warwickshire moment as a Member, it was another England star performer that resonated the most.
“It will have to be Chris Woakes and his 9-36 at home against Durham in the 2016 Championship. That has to be up there with my favourite Bears moment. And then as soon as he got off the field he got the England call-up.Sophie Walker, Warwickshire Member
“I thought that bowling performance was absolutely sensational. It was very special to watch.
“The T20 win in 2014 is also right up there. Following that it would have to be the one-day win at Lord’s against Surrey in 2016. I call it the Jonathan Trott final because what else can you say about him and his batmanship. He won us the game that day in the run chase and it was a fantastic performance.”
While Sophie is very much a fan of all forms of cricket, she wanted to become a Member at Warwickshire to be more closely associated with the Club and to take advantage of all the perks that Membership brings.
“It was very much about being more associated with the Club. I wanted to be a Member.
“Members’ Nets during pre-season is a fantastic opportunity to see and chat to the players who are always hospitable with their time and you can chat to them about anything. The awards night at the end of the season as well, where you can celebrate the individual and team achievements; I think that is a special night. And more recently the online Q&As as well. It’s been fantastic to hear from some Club legends and engaging with Club content throughout lockdown.
But like many Members, she now can’t wait to get back to Edgbaston, when it is safe to do so, and cheer on the Bears. Sophie also wanted to play her part in supporting the club during this difficult period.
“As soon as the doors are open again, I’m sure I’ll be one of the first there.
“When lockdown happened, I thought that it wouldn’t sit right with me to ask or demand for a refund of my Membership subscription. These are tough times for everyone and it’s not the Club’s fault, its not players or staff’s fault that we’ve got no cricket, it’s tough.
“You have to support through the bad times, you have to. You are going to have good and bad times. Anyone can support a team when you are winning trophies every year, that is easy. You have to recognise the bad times as well.”