Cricket is breaking new boundaries with Bolton’s youth thanks to a generous funding scheme.
Through the English Cricket Board’s (ECB) non-turf pitch scheme, Bolton has so far spent £100,000 on 10 new artificial cricket pitches, with further funding to come for equipment and five years of maintenance.
The move is part of the ‘cricket unleashed’ initiative by the ECB, designed to get more young people interested in the game.
Pitches have already been installed at two high schools: Ladybridge and Sharples, with further work planned at Turton High School, New House Farm fields (two), Barlow Park, Hulton Lane (two), Moss Bank Park and Church Road.
Shorter cricket games with fewer players, and promoted by the charity Last Man Standing, can also be played on the pitches.
Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Culture and Sport, Cllr John Byrne, said: “We want to encourage all people in Bolton to live active and healthy lifestyles, whatever activity they chose. Residents, young and old, will be able to use the pitches and try out the game.
“Cricket teaches teamwork, tactical thinking and physical skill, and Bolton has produced some of the country’s finest players over the years.
“I’m delighted that we as a council are giving more people the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful sport, especially with England hosting the world cup this year.”
Residents will be able to book the pitches and equipment for free and turn up and play. Clubs will also be able to hire them for a full season.
Those at schools can be booked by contacting their leisure centres direct. Once the park pitches have been installed people will be able to book them through the council.