MEMBERS of Hightown St Mary's Cricket Club celebrated its return to playing by officially opening a new £10,000 practice facility.
A non-turf cricket wicket has been installed at the club's Sandy Lane ground, through funding provided by Sefton Council's community transition fund and the club's own efforts. The new facility will support the development of women’s and girls cricket, as well as providing training and match practice for all junior and senior players.
Instrumental to the project's success was former chairman John Dickinson, who not only led the local authority funding bid but also kindly donated some of his own 60th birthday money towards the new installation. The club itself contributed just under £4,000, raised via its ‘Raise4Russ’ charity set up in memory of former player Russ Brennan. Russ's wife Elaine was guest of honour at the opening ceremony, which was also attended by Priya Patel, head of women's and girls cricket, current chairman David Laybourne and John Dickinson.
Priya Patel welcomed the benefits the new pitch would bring to the club: “This is a very significant investment, which we hope will attract more women and girls to cricket and help grow the women’s game.
“It was a great honour to be the first group to train on the new surface and the girls were delighted with it. We have already increased our membership in recent months and when people see the investment and progress being made, we hope it will encourage even more to come on board.”
Club chairman David Laybourne added: “Our thanks go to John Dickinson and to Sefton Council for their valuable support and of course to all our members and supporters who contributed via Raise4Russ.
“Our success has always been based on developing junior talent and now, with the women’s and girls teams on board and projects such as this, people can see that we’re a club moving forward.”
The club is about to embark on a much shorter season due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but will be playing men’s, women’s and junior cricket throughout August and September. The club can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org