CRICKETERS are celebrating a fund-raising double after reaching an appeal target of £25,000 to buy their playing field.

Members of Sheepscombe Cricket Club have been bowled over by the response to their plea to help raise the money to buy the historic Laurie Lee Field.

The club launched their fundraising campaign Stump Up for Sheepscombe six months ago and raised their target through a series of events including a sportathon, talent show and a promises auction.

Now, they have received a further £25,000 as a grant from the ECB - the national governing body for cricket in England and Wales.

This has not only enabled the club to buy the ground where it has played for more than 100 years, but it will also fund a programme of professional coaching as well as vital and long overdue improvements to the clubhouse and facilities.

“This is a fantastic result both for the club and for the village as it has enabled us to safeguard the future of village cricket for generations to come,” said club chairman Elisabeth Skinner. 

“I would like to thank everyone who supported the fundraising events over the last few months and of course we couldn’t have come this far so quickly without the amazing generosity of all the individual donors.

“Part of our fundraising campaign was to submit a number of grant applications, and we were surprised and thrilled to attract such a significant amount from the ECB."

Sheepscombe Cricket Club was given long-term use of the Laurie Lee field in 1971 when it was bought by the famous author, whose uncles were keen players and supporters.

It is now planning a significant refurbishment programme for the pavilion to include repairs to the structure of the building, provision of a reliable electricity supply, improvements to the drainage system for toilets and showers and access for disabled visitors.

The club will also train its coaches and set up a new junior section for children of all ages.