A cricket club is aiming for big things on and off the pitch this season.
Cramlington Cricket Club has secured more than £180,000 of investment over the last three years.
The money has been used to carry out large-scale improvements at the club’s home at Cramlington Sporting Club, including new changing rooms, storage areas, playing equipment and a new all-weather practice facility.
Officially opened by Coun Allan Hepple, it is part of the club’s five-year plan to get more people playing the sport.
On the pitch, the club has been promoted to the Northumberland Cricket League’s premier division for the first time.
Club chairman Steve Parker said: “Five years ago our club was a group of around 30 blokes who simply played cricket, but our numbers were dwindling and we knew that if the club was to survive we needed to invest time and effort attracting youngsters to the game.
“We put some of our players through coaching courses and managed to get a small grant from the National Lottery to buy kids’ playing equipment and set up some introductory sessions.
“Take-up was fantastic and all of a sudden we had a group of about 25 youngsters who were keen to play. The club is now flourishing with more than 110 members, including over 70 juniors and a deep talent pool that has carried us into the premier league.”
“It’s a very exciting time for us and the installation of the new practice nets is a fantastic positive.”
“We hope it will attract even more players, young and old to our club.”
Coun Hepple said: “When the club approached me I could see what they were trying to achieve and the positive impact it would have on the community.
“I am a cricket fan myself and I understand how being part of a good club can give youngsters with a sense of fulfilment, so I was delighted to help.”
For more on the club see their Twitter @cramlingtoncc or Facebook page.