A RURAL cricket team has been bowled over by a grant of almost £10,000 to pay for new ground maintenance equipment.

Lands Cricket Club, which plays in the Darlington and District League, received a £9,674 grant from Banks Renewables, via its community fund.

The cash paid for a new grasscutter, strimmer and a range of accessories, which have been used to improve the quality of the pitches on the club's square.

Loading article content

The grant also covered the cost of pre-season preparation of all of the ten strips on the square and for the treatment of the boundary fence to protect it from the weather.

It’s the second time Banks has provided funding for the Teesdale club, with a £2,200 grant in 2010 being used to help pay for a number of ground improvements.

Club chairman Carroll Simpson, said: “The equipment we had was very old and needed a lot of maintenance.

“The new cutter is much more reliable and easier to use which means the quality of the pitches that we can prepare has also improved.

“Having better pitches helps us attract and retain more players, which is especially important at a time when a great number of clubs are struggling to put out as many teams as they used to.”

Banks Renewables is the company behind the proposed Windy Bank wind farm, which would be situated on agricultural land between Woodland and the southern edge of Hamsterley Forest.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, said: “This grant is an excellent example of the sort of community-based project that could be supported from the Windy Bank benefits fund.

“We hope we are given the opportunity to help make major long-term improvements to a range of local facilities by using revenues from the wind farm in this way.”