The Park Avenue facility is set to provide cricket sessions for 10,000 people from the local community each year.
A state-of-the-art £1.5million, 10-bay all-weather cricket dome has been officially opened in Bradford Park Avenue, which has provided practice facilities to over 30 clubs located in its vicinity in recent years.
The facility – the first of its kind – is funded by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in partnership with City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, and is set to provide cricket sessions for 10,000 people from the local community each year.
The building features two 40mx20m covered domes with a state-of-the-art lighting system, elite cricket surface and a retractable netting system enabling both training and matchplay, replicating the features of an elite indoor facility.
It will enable local cricketers to play all year round and in any weather.
Bradford Park Avenue has become a community hub in the area since the existing infrastructure was built in 2017, with Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC), Northern Diamonds, The Hundred’s Northern Superchargers as well as recreational clubs from across the region all utilising the facility.
At the launch of the new facility on Friday 20th October, non-executive Director for Yorkshire County Cricket Club, and Chair of Bradford Park Avenue, Yaseen Mohammed, said: “This is another exciting moment for both Park Avenue Bradford and our surrounding communities.
“This is a historic cricket ground, and where better to place the world-first all-weather cricket facility than in Bradford?
“We’re delighted to have been chosen to lead the new Grounds Management Project and are looking forward to working with a large number of our local clubs to enhance what they are able to offer.
“We are incredibly lucky in Bradford to be surrounded by a vast number of very well-run cricket clubs and this project should only help to improve standards across the board.
“The popularity of the existing infrastructure has been through the roof, and with the ability to facilitate training in all-weathers and throughout the year, the new developments will make a huge impact.
“We are another step closer to returning Park Avenue to its former glory, to be a real cricketing hub in the area and welcome in players and teams from junior cricket, all the way up to international cricketers.”
Chair of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Harry Chathli, said: “With the support of Bradford Council and the ECB, we have been able to double the capacity and can now offer approximately 10,000 cricketers use of the nets all year round.
“Park Avenue’s ambitions have been to return the ground and facilities to its former glory so that recreational clubs, and our own YCCC teams can see this as a ground to be used in addition to the established outgrounds of Scarborough and York. We look forward to the local community use it to their benefit.”
YCCC has also aided the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation led Cric-Kit programme, with a recycling hub at the venue, as well as hosting Wicketz and Enjoy Cricket sessions for young people and supporting the Foundation and Yorkshire Cricket Board’s diverse communities work including hosting The Hundred and Tapeball competitions.
Bradford Park Avenue has also become a centre for developing Women’s and Girls’ cricket, with specific coach education and softball festival programmes supporting a new generation of female participants. The programme has led to the formation of a successful new Women’s and Girls’ cricket club, Bradford Park Avenue Ladies CC.
In addition to the new facility, Bradford Park Avenue will become a grounds management training centre as part of a £1m+ pitch improvement project, which will benefit 30 grounds within a 30-mile radius. Investment has been led by the ECB with additional support from the Grounds Management Association and funding from the Football Foundation, Sport England and City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council.
The pitch improvement project will be run by Bradford Park Avenue’s Head Grounds Manager Nasa Hussain, and will deliver improvements at all 30 grounds, creating volunteering and training opportunities for the local community in the process.
Head groundsman Nasa Hussain, who’s given valuable insight was taken on board on how to maximise the effectiveness of the facility, said: “I’m so incredibly proud that Bradford has this world-first all-weather cricket facility, which is the first of its kind.
“The build has taken around 18-month to complete, and throughout that time I’ve been inundated with players eager to find about when it will be open.
“This will make a huge impact for our users, whether that’s the kids camps, regular players, professional men’s and women’s games and the disability teams.”
ECB Chair Richard Thompson said: “This is a hugely exciting development and we’re really pleased to be able to contribute to a facility that enables more people across the region to access cricket.
“We’ve taken an innovative approach to ensuring year-round access to cricket facilities in a community hub that acts as something of a model for how we want to support cricket in regions across England and Wales moving forward.
“Allowing and encouraging more people to participate in cricket is one of our biggest priorities and we’re grateful for the support and co-operation of the stakeholders involved to help bring that around.
“The promise of pitch improvements in the wider area will also be of great benefit to many cricketers, and we’re equally delighted to be able to contribute to that.”
Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Portfolio Holder for Healthy People and Places, said: “This amazing facility shows what can be achieved by working in partnership and investing together. Bradford Park Avenue is part of Bradford’s history but now it is very much part of Bradford’s future, with access to state-of-the-art sports facilities playing a vital part of our ambition to support people’s health and wellbeing.
“I look forward to hearing about all the fantastic opportunities the new facilities will bring and hope to see future cricketers follow in the footsteps of Jonny Bairstow, Adil Rashid, MBE and Harry Brook who were recently awarded the honour of Freeman of the City and Shivanie Patel, who was instrumental in setting up the ladies cricket team at Bradford Park Avenue.”