YOUNG cricketers christened a village club’s new state-of-the-art pitch with a fitting victory.

It was followed by further success on the new surface by Littletown CC’s second XI to cap a day of celebration for the North-East Durham League side.

Both matches were staged under the watchful gaze of Durham county cricketer Chris Rushworth, the guest of honour for the day.

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The fast-medium opening bowler performed the honours, cutting the ribbon to mark the official opening of the new pitch, the club’s prize in a nationwide competition run by The Cricketer magazine.

Members of the club’s under-11 side had first use of the pitch, to good effect, completing their first ever win in a close fought contest against their counterparts, from Etherley.

The club’s seconds maintained the excellent start on the surface, with a six wicket win over visitors Beamish and East Stanley.

Between the matches the cricketing fun day also included a question and answer session with the star guest, a barbecue, ‘Crazy Catch’ games as well as a fundraising raffle.

It raised more than £100 for Mr Rushworth’s Dry 2014 challenge in aid of the Save the Children Fund.

Club chairman Ed Finn said the new pitch played to a high standard.

“It has given our teams the chance to regularly practice on our square without the worry of cutting up our wickets, while also offering genuine bounce and pitch movements that a grass pitch would offer.

“It’s allowed us to play junior games when our grass pitches have been too damp and has produced good sensible bounce that has enabled a well contested game to be carried out.”

The laying of the new pitch is part of the club’s dream to transform the Cross Street ground, from what members concede was, “an overgrown wasteland” into, “a field of dreams”.

Future plans include redeveloping and extending the pavilion over coming years.