Vauxhall Mallards handed a lifeline by East Anglian Premier League after ground switch

The former home of Vauxhall Mallards. Picture: Denise Bradley.

The former home of Vauxhall Mallards. Picture: Denise Bradley. - Credit: Archant copyright 2011

One of Norfolk's leading cricket clubs will continue in the East Anglian Premier League next year after finding a new ground.

Five-time EAPL winners Vauxhall Mallards' future among the sport's elite in the region looked in doubt after the lease ran out on their Brundall home. However, a deal has been struck with Norfolk Division Six Halvergate – who play 10.3 miles from the Ducks' former Strumphshaw Road pitch – to groundshare for 2014. And it's a move that has been welcomed with open arms by the hierarchy of those in the league's management committee.

Andy Abbott, secretary of the EAPL, said: 'Halvergate was inspected by the Norfolk Cricket Board, the EAPL, and we took advice from the ECB (English Cricket Board). We agreed that if the promises to bring and develop the ground up to Premier League standard in the next 12 to 18 months were met, Mallards would be given the opportunity to play in the Premier League there next year.

'Work has been carried out already and we'll be supporting the process for 12 months and reviewing things periodically as we go forward.

'Mallards, Halvergate Cricket Club and the Halvergate Playing Fields Association, who have been fantastic, have all pulled together in the last 10 to 14 days to reach this partnership. It's a credit to all parties involved.'

Planned developments include improving the changing facilities at Wickhampton Road while agreements have been made to erect a players' viewing area and erect a scoreboard in time for cricket's return next year. The outfield area of the pitch will be monitored and assessed in the coming weeks and months.

The former ground of the Ducks had proposals to build 30 houses on the site of their former pitch in 2010. It was submitted by landowner Wayne Biss, director of Vauxhall Holiday Park at Great Yarmouth, who is also the club's treasurer.

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Mallards chairman Roger Finney said: 'We are pleased to have secured a new ground at Halvergate which will see our teams, including our juniors and Halvergate, share the ground. It has great potential and once work has been completed over the winter it will be the envy of many clubs in the county.

'With the continued financial support of the Biss family and Vauxhall Holiday Park plans are already in place for 2014. A new electronic scoreboard, practice nets and a playing viewing area will be completed this winter. I see this as an exciting phase in the club's history.

'A move was always in the pipeline as the trustees of the ground would sell at some point. The planning process dates back over 10 years which I think shows we have not been pushed out.'

Steve Utting, Halvergate chairman, said his club was 'delighted' to be associated with Mallards in the groundsharing arrangement.