Blagdon cricketers know the score thanks to Banks Group grant

July 2, 2013 | Brenkley News

The numbers are up for players at an historic Northumberland cricket club, thanks to the support of a local employer.

Blagdon Park Cricket Club has installed a new scorebox at its ground on the Blagdon Estate after receiving a £2,000 grant towards the total £7,000 cost from Banks Mining, via its Brenkley Lane Community Fund.

The new scorebox was needed to meet league requirements, but with the poor weather during the 2012 season impacting adversely on the club’s finances, they were facing a shortfall in the funds available until Banks, which operates the nearby Shotton and Brenkley Lane surface mines, stepped in.

Blagdon Park Cricket Club is celebrating the 125th anniversary of its foundation this summer, and was originally formed to enable Estate workers to play cricket against their peers from the region’s other country estates.

The 1st and 2nd XIs currently play in the Northumberland Cricket League, and the club has a strong youth section, with junior teams playing at all age groups and a policy of including under 16s players in every 2nd XI game to give them early experience of competitive cricket.

The scorebox grant continues the club’s longstanding relationship with Banks, which donated £25,000 to the club in 2009 to fund major improvements to the pavilion changing rooms and shower facilities.

Club treasurer Andy Pryor says: “The wet weather that we endured last summer hit our finances quite hard, both in the terms of the amount of match fees that we didn’t collect due to the high number of games that weren’t played, and the forced cancellation of our annual fundraising golf day, which had to be called off due to a flooded course.

“The total cost of the scorebox was looking quite daunting, and it would have been very challenging and time consuming to raise the shortfall in the current economic climate ourselves, so we’re extremely grateful to Banks for coming forward and filling the gap.

“The scorebox can be seen from every part of the ground, and we’ve had excellent feedback on the new facilities that it offers, especially from opposition scorers who have somewhere substantial to shelter whenever the weather turns against us.

“We’re much a community club with a strong focus on our younger players, and hopefully a lot of our present juniors will be watching their runs and wickets rack up on the new scorebox for many years to come.”

Banks is currently looking to secure planning permission for additional work at the Shotton and Brenkley Lane surface mines, at which around 200 people are currently employed and which contribute around £20m every year to the local economy through wages and the supply chain.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at Banks Group, adds: “We’re very pleased to be able to continue to support Blagdon Park Cricket Club’s development with this latest grant, and hope they go from strength to strength over the next 125 years.”

Projects, community groups, or voluntary organisations looking for funding in the vicinity of a Banks Group development should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.

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