Club bowled over by aid

MORPETH Cricket Club has been able to secure its long-term future after it received a big funding boost.

The strength of its junior programme helped it meet the criteria for a grant and an interest free loan from the England and Wales Cricket Trust (EWCT) towards its ground development project at Longhirst Hall.

It was awarded £25,000 towards the cost of the purchase of the ground. The total project cost was £75,000.

Ben Maxted, Morpeth Cricket Club Secretary, said: “Everyone at the club was delighted when we were awarded the grant because our lease was close to expiration.

“As the land was being sold, it enabled us to buy the ground – which has given us much more security for the long-term future.”

“Although we are one of the oldest clubs in the North East of England, in recent years the club has made good progress both on and off the field and we have achieved the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Clubmark and Focus Club status. We have also been a Chance to Shine club coaching in local schools.

“We have three Saturday league sides and we have over 100 junior cricketers – boys and girls – at the club. There are junior teams for all age groups from eight to 17 years and we also have a girls’ team.

“We now have 25 girls playing the game and through our structured coaching programme and with close contact with the local schools, we are aiming to increase the number of female players.”

The EWCT’s grant aid programme aims to finance capital projects which contribute to sustaining and increasing participation. Morpeth was identified at local and national level as a club of strategic and development importance.

ECB Funding and Facilities Manager Bruce Cruse said: “We’re confident that Morpeth Cricket Club will now look to the future with more confidence and grassroots cricket in the area will go from strength to strength.”