Richmondshire Cricket Club Juniors has announced new expansion plans for the 2022 season after its most successful year yet.
Demand has become so great that the club was struggling to accommodate youngsters wanting to become involved for the first time.
However, the growth of the club can now continue after it announced plans to develop a third ground in time for the new season, which starts in April.
An agreement has been reached with a local landowner which will result in the juniors now also being able to use the cricket ground at Gilling West, on the outskirts of Richmond.
This use has been granted free of charge provided the club take over the maintenance of the ground, which has not been used for cricket for five years.
Work has already started on getting the ground ready for the 2022 season, with groundsman’s equipment, such as an outfield mower and square cutter, being obtained, and a grant has been submitted to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for the planned refurbishment of the existing pavilion at Gilling.
This all comes on the back of the most successful year in the junior club’s history, with honours being won in the under-11s, under-13s and under-15s age groups, and the under-9s just narrowly missing out on winning their league.
Explaining the expansion, junior club chair Mike White said: “We have 133 fully signed up junior members who played in 107 competitive matches in the 2021 season, and in addition there were a further 52 younger children who got their first taste of cricket during the summer’s Allstars programme.
“Unfortunately, due to the high numbers we had to close membership from May 2021 for primary school players because we simply didn’t have enough room to accommodate them for training or matches.
“We are therefore delighted to have secured Gilling West as a third ground for the 2022 season, adding to the existing ground at Richmond School and, of course the main Hurgill Road ground.
“It means we will now be able to re-open all junior memberships for the new season and give even more local children the opportunity to play cricket and hopefully this will lead to even more success.”
Mike says the generosity of local sponsors has also been key to the success of the club. In the 2021 season, for the first time, children in all junior age groups wore the same blue kit emblazoned with IPL style logos.
Sponsors were The Wensleydale Heifer, Eton Environmental Group, High Bank Day Nursery, Harris Irwin Architects and CU Phosco Lighting.
He added: “The support we received from our sponsors was incredible and enabled us to buy full match kits for all the youngsters and provide them at a heavily subsidised rate for parents.
“We were the envy of the league in our new blue cricket shirts and trousers last year, and we look forward to hopefully continuing our association with our sponsors again next season.”