COLCHESTER Council has secured £100,000 funding to create a state-of-the-art indoor cricket facility at its Northern Gateway Sports Park development.

The cash, provided by the England and Wales Cricket Board, will strengthen the partnership between the council and Essex County Cricket Club, who will use the four-lane net facility for

junior training and development, match programmes and to help its many affiliated clubs.

Managed by Leisure World on behalf of Colchester Council, the facility will also be available for school groups, businesses and individuals to hire and it is hoped it will get more youngsters interested in the sport.

Theresa Higgins, councillor responsible for commercial services, said: “It’s an important step towards improving access to cricket facilities in Colchester and strengthens the partnership between the council, England and Wales Cricket Board and Essex County Cricket Club.”

Once complete, the 76-acre Northern Gateway development bordering the A12 will provide a host of top-of-the-range sports facilities including a one mile floodlit cycle track with a dedicated learn to ride area.

The indoor cricket pitches will be in the multi-use sports centre, which will also include a fitness suite, exercise studios, a café and meeting rooms.

The wider Northern Gateway development will also include all-weather and grass rugby pitches, an archery range and a new home for Colchester Rugby Club.

Bruce Cruse, England and Wales Cricket Board’s head of participation, said: “Increasing accessibility and inspiring more kids to pick up a bat and ball is a big part of our plan to grow the game over the next five years – Inspiring Generations.

“Thriving facilities are key to getting more people into the game and we are excited to watch the Colchester Northern Gateway development come to life.”

Construction at the Northern Gateway sports development is set to be completed in summer next year.