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Councillor Mary Lea with children from Sharrow School
Councillor Mary Lea with children from Sharrow School

Community bowled over by one of a kind cricket facility

24 November 2017

A batting cage, the only one of its kind in the country, has been officially opened in Mount Pleasant Park.

The cage allows budding cricketers the chance to practice their skills and has been made possible with a £28,000 investment from Sheffield City Council and its funding partners.

The original cage had been in the park for many years and was popular with local people but had fallen into disrepair. It has now undergone a transformation with new fencing, cricket wickets and brand new artificial surfacing.

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure was given a tour of the new practice facilities and met with local residents, schoolchildren and members of a local community group that campaigned for the renovation work. Pupils from the nearby Sharrow School gave a demonstration of their cricketing prowess.

Councillor Lea said:  “I am delighted to have been invited to the cricket cage and see first- hand how it has been modernized so that anyone who fancies themselves as the next Michael Vaughan or just wants to improve their cricket has the chance.

“Facilities like these are invaluable due to a shortage of green spaces in urban areas. I hope that everyone makes use of them.

“We invest in them because we recognise how important it is for people to remain fit and active. It is part of our overall ambition to transform Sheffield into the most active city by 2020.”

Shahid Ali is a committee member of the Allama Iqbal Sunday Cricket League, which has six local cricket teams from Nether Edge and Sharrow. He has campaigned for the refurbishment and worked with the council officers on this project. He said: “It’s fantastic to see the cages back in use by the local community.

“It will be a focal point once again over the spring and summer and has local people excited at the opportunity of playing cricket in a safe environment, which brings people together.

“It will be used by young people to play the game of cricket and we envisage fathers and mothers, who play or love cricket, bringing their kids and sharing the space together.”

Anyone who wants to progress from practicing to playing can go from the cricket cage to the non – turf pitches which have been installed at Graves Park and Bents Green. These pitches are part of a city wide investment programme made by the English Cricket Board, to improve grassroots cricket.