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Boost for Great Melton CC

PUBLISHED: 11:52 16 April 2009 | UPDATED: 14:59 14 July 2010

What do Great Melton Cricket Club and Lord's have in common? Answer - both boast their very own nursery grounds.

Great Melton have used a £29,290 grant to develop a rough patch of land adjacent to their existing ground into pitches for the exclusive use of their burgeoning junior section.

What do Great Melton Cricket Club and Lord's have in common? Answer - both boast their very own nursery grounds.

Great Melton have used a £29,290 grant to develop a rough patch of land adjacent to their existing ground into pitches for the exclusive use of their burgeoning junior section.

The money was awarded by the England and Wales Cricket Board under the Government's Community Club Development Programme and club treasurer Grenville Ireland said: “We've had three grass strips professionally laid which will be a dedicated area for our juniors to play matches on.

“It was just a rough piece of pasture where sometimes a few ponies or sheep grazed. We put it to our landowner Sir Edward Evans-Loome that we were rapidly expanding with the number of juniors at the club and we were putting our main square under stress trying to accommodate them as well.

“Fortunately he is potty about cricket and said we could have this piece of land to develop, for which we are especially grateful.

“It gives us a bit of breathing space on the main square, which we can concentrate on now for senior cricket.

“Our juniors now have their own ground they can identify with, we've also bought them their own scoreboard and it's something that is a great asset to our club.

“We have already staged one or two games for the Norfolk Cricket Board and hopefully now this will bring us even more games where we can entertain the county's youngsters.”

The club has more than 170 junior members, with league sides running at U11, U13, U15 and U17 levels, while they also run an academy, where a selection of the most talented young players train with Norfolk player-coach Chris Brown.

The new pitch will be ready for action next month and it promises to be an exciting year for the club, with the first and second teams competing in the revamped Norfolk Alliance for the first time. Melton's third and fourth teams will continue to play in the Norfolk League on Saturdays.

And after progressing rapidly in recent years, Ireland insisted the club still wants to improve: “We've always got future plans and projects, but I think we'll take a little bit of a breather now,” he said.

“This one has been quite a lot of hard work. We weren't one of the clubs originally chosen to receive a grant, but we hung in there and we're delighted with the new facilities.”

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