Lancashire cricket: Building starts on Farington regional centre

An artist's impression of the new pitch and hub showing a cricket pitch surrounded by spectators
An artist's impression of the new centre, which is due to open in 2025

Construction has begun on a new cricket hub described as "one of England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) largest-ever investments".

Due to open in Farington in Lancashire in 2025, it will be a centre of excellence for women in north-west England as well as a facility for "elite and community" players.

It will also be a regional development centre for disability cricket.

The facility will become a second venue for Lancashire County Cricket matches.

The ECB said: "Farington will directly support many of the game's priorities, through long-term growth and connecting more communities through cricket."

Its deputy chief executive Clare Connor said the facility, which will have two cricket pitches that also serve the local community - including state schools - "represents one of the ECB's largest-ever investments because of its scope".

An independent report earlier this year found racism, sexism, classism and elitism were "widespread" in the game.

The panel behind the report said it was "alarmed" by repeated references to "the bank of mum and dad", with respondents stressing the importance of financial support from parents.

ECB chair Richard Thompson responded at the time that he wanted to make cricket the country's "most inclusive sport".

Officials pose with diggers, cricket bats and spade
Officials cut the ground at the new centre in a special event

A turf-cutting ceremony was held earlier this week by Lancashire County Cricket Club and Lancashire County Council, who are collaborating on the project.

The base will act as a second ground for Lancashire Cricket, which is based at Old Trafford in Manchester.

Officials hope it will also host competitive matches, including county, one day and T20 fixtures.

Mark Chilton, director of cricket performance at Lancashire CCC, said they were "incredibly excited".

"It's something that we've been working on, alongside Lancashire County Council, for a long while now and the development will provide top-class elite facilities for both our men's and women's side, which can also serve recreational cricket and the wider community at the same time."

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