HIGH Wycombe CC have been handed a £26,250 grant to improve their practice facilities with a three-bay synthetic practice area.

The reigning Home Counties Premier League champions have forged ahead in recent years with a community-inclusive philosophy that has seen them develop ladies and disabled cricket in the area.

The club has also formed close links with Bucks New University and Wycombe’s strong junior programme was a key factor in their grant from the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Director of cricket Keith Newell said: “We were delighted and relieved when we were awarded the grant because we urgently needed to up-grade our practice facilities.

“The new pitches will be high quality and in accordance with ECB specifications and they will be ideal for the development of young cricketers.

“We have four senior Saturday teams and a Sunday friendly XI and, in addition, we have over 170 junior cricketers at the club – including a girls’ section.

“We have 12 ECB qualified coaches and this new practice facility will enable us to provide a much more structured coaching programme and this will benefit both seniors and junior players.

“In recent years the club has made good progress both on and off the field and we have achieved ECB Clubmark and Focus Club status.

“We have also been a ‘Chance to Shine’ club providing coaching and play opportunities in the local schools.

“As part of our cricket development programme we also work with the Buckinghamshire Cricket Board by organising a disability cricket programme in three local schools.

“We are really grateful to the ECB and Sport England for their most generous grant because we could not afford such an expensive facility from our own resources.”

The facility will cost £40,644, with the club raising the balance themselves.