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Funding for artificial pitches aimed at new range of players in Norwich area

PUBLISHED: 11:25 04 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:25 04 July 2018

Pitch perfect, from left, Joe Skeet (UEA), Jenni Jordan (ECB), Kieron Tuck (NCB) and Aaron Roberts (Active Norfolk), on one of the new pitches at the UEA Colney Lane Picture: Norfolk Cricket Board

Pitch perfect, from left, Joe Skeet (UEA), Jenni Jordan (ECB), Kieron Tuck (NCB) and Aaron Roberts (Active Norfolk), on one of the new pitches at the UEA Colney Lane Picture: Norfolk Cricket Board

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The Norfolk Cricket Board has secured a six-figure investment from the England & Wales Cricket Board to revolutionise the opportunities to play cricket across the Norwich area by providing nine new artificial pitches in seven different locations.

The pitches and venues are: two at the University of East Anglia Colney Lane, Sprowston Recreation Ground, Thorpe St Andrew (Fitzmaurice Park), Drayton (King George V playing fields), two at Wymondham RFC, Hethersett playing fields and Britannia Barracks playing dields.

Seven of the nine pitches have already been installed with the aim to engage with a new range of participants across the city, such as business and pub teams, as well as those from South Asian communities, and women players.

Kieron Tuck, Norfolk Cricket Board’s Development director, said: “This has been a facility project of unprecedented scope and complexity for the Board and has involved significant partnership working with Active Norfolk and ECB as well as with the seven venues involved ranging from dducational establishments to parish councils, local authorities and sports clubs. In particular I would like to thank Active Norfolk for their support and involvement throughout the project; without it this would not have happened.

“These facilities are of the highest quality and like other modern artificial sporting surfaces have the ability to replicate turf play closely with minimal maintenance from the venue. We are excited by the potential for these pitches to be hired by anyone in the community and also that the venues will benefit from additional usage which in turn will increase their commitment to promoting cricket.

“The venues will receive a package of equipment to support their efforts in offering our great game to their communities. These nine pitches are now added to the two pitches installed at Eaton Park in 2015 and a further new pitch at Sloughbottom Park (2016), meaning that Norwich now has a superb range of easily accessed cricket pitches for casual and evening play.”

Phil Steele, the Director of UEA Sportspark said: “The UEA welcomes investment from Norfolk Cricket Board and ECB for these pitches encouraging more grass roots, casual and community cricket. This was meant to be timed with the more extensive Colney Lane playing field development project, but to enable users from the University and also the wider community to access these new facilities early will hopefully give cricket a tremendous boost.”

Bruce Cruse, ECB Head of Participation said: “Projects like this are a key part of our plans to grow the game, get a bat and ball in more hands and ensure that cricket is a sport that is accessible for everyone.

“Having nine quality non-turf pitches available to the people of Norwich will help ensure that local communities have the opportunity to play the game in a way and a time that suits them.”

The funding was secured and sites selected using the Greater Norwich Development Partnership Playing Pitch Strategy of which cricket was fully involved. From this the NCB could select the sites strategically to meet local need.

NCB will be working closely with the venues to promote usage in the coming weeks – anyone interested in hiring a pitch should contact the venues directly. Details at www.norfolkcricket.co.uk.

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