A relegation threatened cricket team will start the season knowing only a bad run on the pitch can send them down - now an £80,000 revamp of its pavilion is underway.
Riddings Cricket Club’s 1938 built changing and storage facilities at West Street were in such disrepair last year, Derbyshire County Cricket League administrators threatened to drop the team down two divisions if things did not improve.
But thanks to funding from Derbyshire county and Amber Valley borough councils a brand new extended pavilion, complete with new changing rooms, showers and a garage for equipment is in progress, set to be completed by March.
Project leader and club life member Gordon Blackmore said: “It’s a very old building and it was really becoming run down to the stage it was becoming an embarrassment.
“Everyone is really looking forward to the work being done now - it’s going to be a very good start to the season.
“We just want to get more community use out of the site now.”
Up until last season, the cricket club was forced to store its equipment such as lawnmowers, rollers and wickets in an outdoor metal container.
The club house there also still bears the scars of a burglary from August last year, where raiders made a hole in the roof of the building before lifting a plasma TV from a wall.
Grandfather of six Mr Blackmore, 60, played for the club between 1980 and 2003, and says the renovation is long overdue, despite the building undergoing minor facelifts in the 1980s and 2006. He says once the facilities are upgraded it could attract more sports, including football back onto the park at West Street.
When Derbyshire County Council announced it was to give away £1 million as part of its Community Building Fund in 2012 the club applied. Despite missing out on the first round of bids for the one-off capital grants of between £10,000 and £250,000 for building projects, the Riddings team was eventually awarded £51,000 in June last year.
Amber Valley Borough Council then agreed to put in £22,000 to the cause and the cricket club has made up the remainder.
Club Chairman, David North said: “The grant we’ve received from Derbyshire County Council is really important.
“We wanted the pavilion to become a sports venue, rather than solely a cricket venue. We also wanted to increase the amount of people using the venue, particularly children and to make the ground accessible all year round and this funding means we can do just that.”
Riddings Cricket Club’s adult first team currently play in Division Four North of the Derbyshire County Cricket League.