TONGE Cricket Club are set to further improve facilities as they look to get back to the top of the local cricket scene.

The Crompton Way club have battled back from a difficult period on and off the field over the last decade or so.

Their team were the leading lights in the Bolton League for several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

But financial issues saw them gradually overtaken on the field as they were no longer able to pay some of the best players in the area.

The situation reached a crisis point around five years ago when the team went almost two seasons without winning a game.

Facilities also deteriorated over the years, but thanks to the commitment of a small band of people led by chairman Paul Schofield, his wife Gillian, son Tom and a loyal group of players under then captain Danny Delvard the club began to rebuild.

They began to win the odd game two seasons ago and this summer mounted a promotion challenge in the Bolton League's second tier which was ultimately unsuccessful but gave the club confidence they can build on it this year.

Facilities also underwent huge improvement during the summer on the back of £30,000 worth of grants provided by Bolton Council and the ECB.

They used the money to buy roll-on covers and flat sheet covers to attach to them, practice batting cages, sight screens, an electric scoreboard and electric feed to the score box, ground equipment to aid in mopping up after rain, a fire alarm upgrade, fencing renovation, soffits and cladding to the clubhouse, heating work in the members' lounge and improvements to the driveway.

Further moves to improve the set-up at Castle Hill have come with a specialist groundsman having recently been employed to improve the square and £10,000 of National Lottery Funding having been secured to refurbish the ladies', gents' and disabled toilets and washroom facilities in the clubhouse.

Mr Schofield said: "We would like to stress our appreciation to the National Lottery, Bolton Council and the ECB for the funding we have received.

"Without them clubs like Tonge CC would struggle to fund such projects.

"General members, function room users and people who attend junior and senior matches will all benefit from the work."