Grounds for hope
FRESH grounds for optimism at Letchworth Cricket Club appear to be well founded. The club s £150,000 project to redevelop the old Fairfield site, now called Fairfield Park, is nearing completion. This will be a second ground to their main home of Whitetho
FRESH grounds for optimism at Letchworth Cricket Club appear to be well founded.
The club's £150,000 project to redevelop the old Fairfield site, now called Fairfield Park, is nearing completion.
This will be a second ground to their main home of Whitethorn Lane and will be host to their third and fourth teams and will also stage colts and ladies' matches.
Their fifth XI will play at St Christopher School in Letchworth.
Club chairman Colin Chatfield (pictured right) said: "We've had a lot of interest from local Fairfield Park residents already and it's going to be a nice place to play cricket.
"There's going to be a lot to do this month and there's already been a good level of support from Letchworth club members."
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Chatfield said the project, which was first conceived in 2003, will have cost around £150,000.
Grant aid has come from the ECB (the England and Wales Cricket Board) as well as the Fairfield Park housing developers the PJ Livesey Group Ltd, who restored the pavilion, along with the Hertfordshire Community Foundation and also the local Environment Trust Biffaward.
Chatfield continued: "The restoration of the ground has been an excellent project which provides the club with a second ground.
"The pavilion has been restored, the outfield levelled and there has been a complete relay of the square."
The square has been laid to a high standard specification and an artificial surface will be installed before the end of this month.
Chatfield added: "We have over 200 young cricketers at the club and it is so important we provide good pitches and safe playing surfaces for their cricket development.
"We've got a lot of youngsters in the lower sides and this gives them a chance to develop on a decent wicket.
"Wickets traditionally struggle at the start but I think the square will play better than we might expect."
The club's first Saracens Herts League fixtures are on May 6 with the colts using the Fairfield Park facilities from the end of April.
Letchworth are one of the first clubs to benefit from the Government's community club development programme, monies which have been pledged to the ECB and are targeted at upgrading cricket facilities.
It is a funding package developed by Sport England and the Government to develop stronger links between the country's leading clubs and their local communities.
The funds are then allocated to the ECB to distribute to selected clubs.
The strength of their junior cricket development programme helped earn Letchworth the award.
This money has provided a 10-pitch cricket square and will enable them to acquire the synthetic pitch, an equipment store and some more ground machinery.
Roger Draper, chief executive of Sport England, said: "We are delighted to make this award to Letchworth Cricket Club. The facility is key to the local development of cricket.