Bardwell looking to start new pavilion work early in 2017

NEW FACILITY: Bardwell Cricket Club President's Day Bardwel players and President's team
NEW FACILITY: Bardwell Cricket Club President's Day Bardwel players and President's team
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Bardwell Cricket Club hopes to secure its long-term future by beginning building work on a new pavilion early next year.

The club have a meeting with England and Wales Cricket Board chiefs on Wednesday hoping to secure funding for the project.

Bardwell have been made a priority for the West of Suffolk by the Suffolk Cricket Board and the new facility is expected to cost in the region of 500, 000.

Club chairman Stephen Larder, who helped resurrect the village cricket team back in 2007, said: “With certain help, we should be able to get that cost down significantly.

“We are waiting for the England Sport Lottery fund to open and will be meeting with officials from the ECB with a view to receiving some support from them.

“Hopefully the cricketing authorities will see the good work that we are doing here. If we get the go ahead we are expecting it to be finished for the start of the 2018 season.”

Any new facility would include new changing rooms, a clubroom, bar and kitchen.

“The club has outgrown the old pavilion, which was built in 1969, and it is somewhat dated now. It’s just not adequate,” admitted Larder.

“We need somewhere where we can accommodate opposing teams properly and a new pavilion would be the final piece of the jigsaw.

“We would like to host representative matches here and it would go a long way in helping finance the club going forward.”

Bardwell may also put some of their own money towards the project. The popular Bardfest, which began in 2010, has provided a valuable lifeline to the club.

Larder said: “The cornerstone of our fundraising in the last few years has been Bardfest. In past years, we’ve bought a new roller, an electronic scoreboard and new nets. This year’s Bardfest has enabled us to double the size of the cricket square.

“We plough all the money from the festival into making the facilities better and a more enjoyable experience for all.”

The ECB are not likely to be anything else other than impressed with the outstanding work at Bardwell, whose focus is purely on the community.

In the space of seven years, the Sunday team have gone from Division Five to Division One in the Hunts County Bats Sunday League.

The club also have an Academy XI playing in Division Four, a Saturday team in the Two Counties League, a midweek team, a friendly team, a women’s team, two under-16 teams, two under-13s, an under-11s, and an under-nines.

Altogether they have 160 members, and almost 100 registered junior players and that’s without the youth football set-up which has also returned to the village under the guidance of Larder and his hard-working committee.