TAUNTON Vale Sports Club have received a grant of £7,848 from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) towards the cost of a non-turf pitch.

The ECB offers grant to clubs in Somerset to enable the number of Last Man Stands leagues, teams and players to grow and develop.

Taunton Vale Sports Club was identified by the Somerset Cricket Board and the ECB as a club of strategic importance in the development of this aspect of the game.

Last Man Stands (LMS) is a fast-moving game of cricket played on a T20 basis which can be completed by two eight-a-side teams in two hours. It is ideal for community groups, friends, works and office teams, pub sides, park teams and clubs.

Club manager Simon Manley said: “We were very pleased to receive the grant award which has given the club’s cricket section a further boost.”

“In recent times the Taunton Cricket Club has made good progress and has achieved ECB Clubmark and Focus Club status.

“We have four senior league teams and there are over 150 junior cricketers – including girls – and there is a girls’ team and a women’s team.

“On Wednesday evenings we have Last Man Stands league matches and there are 12 teams playing in the league. “With this new fixture programme it has not only increased the participation in the playing of the game but more cricketers are making use of the club facilities which helps to generate more revenue.

“The new synthetic match play pitch gives us further benefits because when turf pitches are too wet for matches to take place the non turf pitch is used for junior match fixtures and also coaching.

“We are grateful to the ECB and Sport England for the grant support because we could not afford this excellent facility from our own resources.”

“We regard ourselves as a community facility and multi sports club providing cricket, hockey and tennis and Somerset County Cricket Club uses our ground for all their Second XI fixtures. “In addition, the local football club uses our facilities for meetings and social activities.”

ECB’s national funding and facilities manager, Bruce Cruse, said: “The England and Wales Cricket Board are pleased to invest in this project and to give a boost to grass roots facility development and support the growth of junior cricket and women’s and girls’ cricket in particular. “It has been planned to put new impetus into the playing future of the local community and I am confident that as the investment matures cricket locally will go from strength to strength.”

Sport England’s director of property Charles Johnston said: “The improved practice and coaching facilities at Taunton Vale will be welcomed by both experienced players looking to develop their game and by people who are new to cricket. “We are confident that ECB’s strategic approach to investing in high quality sustainable facilities will help cricket to attract and maintain new participants and create more opportunities to nurture sporting talent.”