Clubs celebrate new facilities at open day

Morpeth Tennis Club's new artificial grass courts.

Morpeth Tennis Club's new artificial grass courts.

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A very successful open day was held at Longhirst by Morpeth Cricket Club and Morpeth Tennis Club.

The event was held to promote the sports and celebrate the official opening of three brand new artificial grass courts, which replaced the old courts which had become worn out, and the new cricket square and outfields.

The courts were opened by Anne Roberts, Morpeth Tennis Club chairman, who unveiled a plaque from the club’s main funder SITA Trust. It contributed £36,280 towards the overall costs of £45,260.

The other funding help was provided by UK Coal, which gave £4,690, with the club making up the balance.

Secretary Paul Beasley said: “A report from a small team led by club first team player Trevor Herron recommended in 2013 that new courts would be built by Fosse Contracts if funding could be obtained.

“In late 2014, the club had managed to get two backers and the work was completed in May this year.”

A total of 55 visitors, mostly juniors, attended the day and were able to play games and mini-tennis and get some free coaching from Pippa Hawes, Heather Ives and Alex Laude. All who came enjoyed playing tennis and were encouraged to return for more coaching.

The whole of the playing surface at Morpeth Cricket Club was re-laid in 2014 to improve drainage and add three new strips to the square. This has enabled more matches to be played, which was necessary due to the club’s successful junior cricket programme.

The money for the scheme, £68,000, was raised under the protection of playing fields initiative and sponsored by Sport England.

After the official ceremony, about 200 people either played in or watched the junior and senior cricket festivals.

A club spokesman said: “The Sport England sponsored works have given a new lease of life to the club, enabling us to field four senior and seven junior teams.

“The Longhirst sports field is in excellent condition and as Morpeth Cricket, Hockey and Tennis Club President John Craigs mentioned in his speech, the club is fortunate to have such wonderful facilities in beautiful surroundings.

“Possibly the highlight of the day was the barbecue with meat provided by Ian and Victoria Byatt from Moorhouse Farm Shop, Stannington.

“Many thanks must go to all those who put in such a big effort to organise this day. Club sponsors Marlish Water, Sanders Plant and Waste Management and Helen McArdle Care were invited to the opening and thanks goes to them for their continued support.”

Morpeth Cricket Club are always looking for new players and members at junior and senior level. Email Rodrogers@hotmail.co.uk or Morpethcc100@gmail.com for more information.

Morpeth Tennis Club welcomes new members, but it is not necessary to be a member to play and details can obtained at the website morpethtennisclub.clubbuzz.co.uk or from Mr Beasley (call 01670 515125 or email paul.beasley6@gmail.com)