The future of one of Liverpool’s oldest cricket clubs is set for a healthy innings as an ambitious plan to install an all-year round practice facility has taken a step closer.
Sefton Park Cricket Club, established in 1860 and twice winner of the top-tier championship of the Liverpool and District Cricket League, has been working to install the all-weather facility, with three artificial wicket strips, for the past two years.
Now the expansion plan has been given a boost by Liverpool City Council which has agreed to grant a new long-term lease for the club incorporating a new parcel of land to house the facility.
The new 80-year lease, as part of the Landlord and Tenant Act, will be completed following the expiry of the advertisement of a public notice to redraw the club’s boundary to include the new practice area – subject to a review of any objections.
The historic club, based at its Croxteth Drive/Ullet Road ground since 1876, identified the need for the new facility to assist its teams, grow community engagement and support youth development and after this final piece in the jigsaw is complete, will look to install the pitches in March.
The facility is welcome timing for the new season as the First Team seeks to build on its third place in the First Division of the Liverpool and District Cricket Competition, narrowly missing out on promotion to the region’s ECB Premier League, and for the first time the club will have a women’s team for the 2019 season to accompany its six senior sides and thriving junior section.
The Club, which already has planning permission and support from the Sefton Park forum, has also received financial backing from Sport England to partially fund the development and has launched a fundraising campaign to complete payment for the facility, which will also be available for community use. The Club will also be planting two new trees as part of the project, which has been validated by a Tree survey and Heritage report.
Councillor Wendy Simon, Deputy Mayor of Liverpool and Cabinet Member for Sport, said: “Sefton Park Cricket Club is a fantastic institution and has been a leading light in the region’s amateur cricket scene for more than a century.
“This new all-weather practice area will not just be of huge benefit to the Club’s own teams and their future development and success on the pitch, it will also be a great community resource too.
“With a new lease and boundary the city council is fully supportive of the Club’s plans and we look forward to seeing this new facility open and attracting new players of all ages, both male and female.”
Richard Forsyth, First Team Captain at Sefton Park Cricket Club, said: “We are delighted that the city council has approved our long-term plans to develop a new practice facility. We have the largest playing membership in Liverpool and this new inclusive facility will provide both our existing junior and senior members with a first-class area to develop and practice.
“We also expect the new facility to attract new members, young and old from the community to join our club and increase participation in the fantastic sport of cricket. Everyone is really excited about the project. As a club we are fortunate to be playing cricket in a heritage park and we’re committed to ensuring this project has a positive impact on the park and its users.
“The Club would like to express its gratitude to long-serving member, Dr Naj Ahmed who led the project on behalf of the Club to make the Club’s vision a reality.”