Alveley Cricket Club, a grassroots club that caters for five adult teams and a thriving junior section in the south Shropshire village near Bridgnorth, have netted major grants to help give its Four Oaks ground a facelift.
A total of £120,000 of improvements, much of which was awarded as a grant from Sport England, is to help the club further upgrade their home. Alveley’s members and supporters have also worked tirelessly to fund-raise for the project in recent years.
From the new year, the cricket club aim to begin work on a new twin-bay practice facility, a pitched roof on their new pavilion, extended changing rooms and a covered outside social area for spectators.
Alveley, whose first team play in the Worcestershire Cricket County League, began work on their new home on the site around four years ago, after funding from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) helped them secure their long-term future by purchasing the land for their own home.
The club installed drainage facilities, a cricket wicket and pavilion as well as investment in covers and a power supply, standing them out from any other facilities in the area, according to the club’s chairman.
“It’s taken a lot of work by a lot of volunteers to get to this point,” said chairman Richard Twigg. “A lot has changed for us in terms of moving a ground and looking after it, it has opened up a lot more opportunities for us to do more things.
“We applied for it and worked with them to get the project in a position for it to work for them and us and they’ve helped us along the way to make sure it’s going to benefit the whole community.
“Moving to the new ground has helped us attract new players and teams that have come and visited us have said how amazing it looks and that they were impressed by what we’ve done.
“Going from just two adult teams to having a junior set-up, a ladies section and potentially new teams moving forward it is really pleasing to see.”
Alveley, who were previously based at the village’s Recreation Ground, hope to finish work on their latest installations in time for the new season next spring.
Work was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The club were able to play around half of the planned cricket season this year.
Twigg explained the progress the club have made. He added: “The ground is unrecognisable to what it was like five years ago, it was a farmers field, used for fly-tipping and off-road vehicles. The first thing we did was clear the site of old mattresses, needles and beer bottles.
“They will be fantastic facilities. There are no facilities like these within the local area, it’s going to be brilliant for all ages and abilities to use and enjoy. The new facility will have electric for bowling machines and WiFi for video recording technology for coaches.
“For a little village we have done really well, and the way the public have pulled together to raise funds is great.
“I want to say a massive thanks to everyone that has helped over the years. The fundraising events, have always been well attended.
“We have lost count of the number of volunteering hours that have been spent, but without our volunteers this project would not have happened.”