CLITHEROE bowler Alex Hartley has welcomed a new partnership between the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Lancashire Cricket Club which is set to see thousands of children benefit from hundreds of new and improved cricket facilities

Following a successful and high-profile summer of cricket, with England’s men triumphing in the World Cup and the men’s disability team reaching the final of the Physical Disability Worlds, the partnership is hoping to harness the new-found enthusiasm for the sport to transform the lives of the people of Greater Manchester and inspire a generation to take up the game.

The proposal aims to deliver a 10-point action plan, developed in conjunction with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Cheshire Cricket Board and Chance to Shine, that will focus on creating a network of community cricket facilities in urban areas and delivering a series of cricket programmes targeted at children and young people.

Among the ambitious plans is the installation of 100 new all-weather pitches in publicly accessible open spaces.

The ambitious action plan for advancing the sport was announced at Old Trafford, on Wednesday morning, the first day of the fourth Ashes Test where the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, was joined by Hartley and the CEO of Lancashire Cricket Club, Daniel Gidney.

“It’s a fantastic partnership and one I’ve been delighted to help launch alongside Andy Burnham and Daniel Gidney this morning at Old Trafford,” said Hartley, who made her debut for her native county as a 14-year-old in 2008 and was a member of the winning women’s team at the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup held in England.

“This summer has been so incredible with the World Cup and now the Ashes and I think it’s important that we capitalise on the interest there now is in the game.

“The timing for this is perfect in my opinion.

“To have further investment from Lancashire Cricket Club, ECB and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority can only help the game moving forward and it’s great that cricket is becoming more and more accessible for young children in the region.”