Etherley Cricket Club announces plans for new pavilion and improved playing fields

Plans: Etherley Cricket Club

Plans: Etherley Cricket Club

First published in News by , Reporter (Barnard Castle & Teesdale)

OFFICIALS at a cricket club have vowed to bounce back with plans for a £50,000 new pavilion and major ground improvements.

Etherley CC, near Bishop Auckland, was rocked by a late-night stabbing incident on Boxing Day that resulted in the club having its premises licence suspended, preventing non-members from using the bar.

It was the second major incident at the club, following a serious assault at a charity event last June.

However, youth development officer John Raw, told a meeting of Etherley Parish Council these were isolated incidents which had damaged the club's reputation.

“I want to reassure you there are a lot of really good things going on at the club – we are doing all we can,” he told members.

He said the bar remained open to members and was being managed by the four-strong committee.

Etherley doesn't currently run a senior team, but Mr Raw said the club's junior section remained buoyant, with dozens of children attending winter nets in preparation for the coming season's under-11 and under-13 competitions.

In addition, he said the club boasted 127 members for 2013.

“We have been really well supported by the local community,” he said.

Mr Raw said a £50,000 bid was due to be submitted to the national Inspired Facilities fund to help pay for a new pavilion.

“There is also money available through Sport England to bring former playing fields back into use.

“I am working on trying to get the former football pitch next to the cricket field back into use – and hopefully then we can attract a football team to play there.”

Mr Raw said the football pitch was currently “marshland” and as a result, this was now starting to affect the cricket field.

He said it would cost £18,000 to bring the football pitch back to a useable state and a further £18,000 for better drainage of the cricket field.

“We are doing the best we can – we have not packed up our bags,” he said.

Parish council chairman Peter Ray referred to previous problems at the club, but Mr Raw said that apart from the two incidents highlighted at the licensing meeting, he was unaware of any others.

He said a meeting was due to take place with Durham County Council licensing officials prior to a review of the licence suspension on January 24.

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