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FRESH START SAVES HISTORIC CRICKET GROUND

The historic cricket ground at Jesmond has been saved after a two year campaign.

Newcastle’s Royal Grammar School has taken over the lease of the ground. A new independent Newcastle Cricket Club has been formed to take over running the local senior and junior cricket teams and the Bar and pavilion. Northumberland County is expected to continue to play some of its matches at Jesmond.

The campaigning group which rallied residents, sports fans and cricketers from around the world has welcomed the new agreement which has saved the ground and preserved community involvement for the future.

A strengthened Newcastle squad has been joined by new overseas player/ coach Blair Parlane from New Zealand, and also Ben Harmison, brother of Durham’s Steve Harmison who supported the campaign as Patron. Steve has continued his support, by signing collectors’ item limited edition prints to help raise funds for the new Club.

Newcastle Cricket Club has made clear its ambitions to expand its junior section alongside its senior teams. “We’ve had a big increase in interest already and very much welcome the opportunity to broaden our current links with local schools. I’m sure the new arrangement will offer much improved facilities and coaching, and we’re eager to encourage as many youngsters as possible to take up the game,” said Newcastle chairman, Mike Randell.

The Campaign to Save Cricket @ Jesmond rallied local residents, sports fans and cricketers from around the world to prevent the planned closure of the ground. Spokesman Charlie Stafford said: “Throughout our campaign, we have wanted to ensure that people continue to have the opportunity to watch and to play cricket. We’re delighted that the new plans will mean there are even more opportunities to do both.

“Our Ashes success showed why our supporters felt so passionately that cricket is worth saving – you can’t have the success at international level without the chance for youngsters to play locally.”

Amongst players who spoke out to save the ground was Dennis Lillee who wrote from Australia : “Most cricket grounds are forgettable. However, in my opinion, Jesmond should live forever. It should be a monument to what cricket is and should never lose”.

Three Patrons lent their support: the North East’s Ashes star bowler Steve Harmison, former England captain Mike Brearley, and former England bowler Dorothy Macfarlane who trained at the Jesmond ground.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION :

Newcastle Cricket Club can be contacted on:

Club: 0191 281 0775

Chairman – Mike Randell: 0191 274 7950 or mike@randell747.fsnet.co.uk

Secretary – Olwyn Hocking: 0191 281 0746 or olwyn.hocking@blueyonder.co.uk