EDGWORTH Cricket Club are looking to the future as they embark on a £250,000 development.

Chairman David Enright oversaw the start of the building work for the new state-of-the-art facilities and clubhouse extension in mid-November.

The development commenced with the demolition of the old changing facilities which are being replaced by a two-storey building which will feature four changing rooms, an umpires’ room, toilet facilities, an electronic scoreboard and a players’ viewing gallery.

Developer Archie John, the firm behind The Edge – the Edgworth-based housing developer involved in the regeneration of the old Crowthorn School and buildings – has given the club a £25,000 interest-free loan to help fund the project.

Much of the remaining money needed will come from a crowd-funding scheme involving the club’s 400 members and the Edgworth community, as well as from the club’s cash reserves.

“We are excited about the potential of the club following the completion of the works," said the club chairman.

"The old changing rooms were small, dated and desperately needed improving.

"As well as aiming to win promotion back to the Greater Manchester League Premier Division, the club plays an ever-increasing role within the community and we recognise the need to improve our facilities to reflect this as well as to help attract good players to the club.”

The not-for-profit sports and social club is run by the community for the community to promote sport and recreation for the village and visitors.

The cricket field is also used by Turton High School and Edgworth Primary School for sporting activities, while the new development's extended ground floor will increase the club’s scope for hosting external functions as well as supporting charitable and local community events.

Edgworth have also recently been approved a grant from waste management giant Viridor for the construction of an outdoor net facility.

On the field, the club’s aim under new captain Liam Watkinson is promotion, hopefully at the first time of asking.

The club have appointed Sri Lankan left-arm spinner, Umega Chathuranga, as professional for next season.

He had an outstanding domestic season in 2017-18, during which he captained his first-class team to promotion.

He also has a wealth of UK experience to call upon.

Last year’s overseas amateur, Phil Thompson, is set to return for a second season in the UK, and he, Watkinson and Chathuranga will be supported by a new club coach and group of young players who have come through the Edgworth ranks, including Josh Fallows, Jamie Smith and Chris King.

Fraser Scott, from The Edge, Edgworth, said: “Having spent time meeting with the community in Edgworth, as well as welcoming new families into the Edge, we have become very much part of the village.

“We were keen to support this vibrant community focal point, and having met Dave and other members of the club, we were more than happy to throw our support behind this project and offer financial assistance to move it forward.”