The game of cricket has undergone a £600,000 transformation in Bedford with the opening of the refurbished Allan Park Pavilion.
The improvements were brought about by an ‘impressive community project” lead by the Queen’s Park Cricket Association, in partnership with Bedfordshire Cricket Ltd and Bedford Borough Council, which began in 2013.
Association chairman Tariq Iqbal said: “The improvements to the Allan Park Pavilion and playing surfaces finally give cricket in Queens Park the opportunity to progress to another level. The quality of the facilities before now has prevented clubs from progressing into some of the higher standard leagues.”
He added: “The development of talent has seen an incredible rise over the last 10 years with over a dozen senior teams and representation across all junior levels, including a girls’ team.
“No other area in the whole of Bedfordshire has a higher concentration of organised cricket within a square mile and I’m glad to see that we now have facilities to match the desire for the game and talent that we have locally.”
The official opening, on Saturday, April 25, was marked by a match between a Queen’s Park select XI and Wolverton Town CC, which Queen’s Park won convincingly in front of more than 200 spectators.
Work began on the pavilion in June 2014, thanks to the support of QP Crescents FC and Bedford Ladies FC, who helped secure grants from organisations including the England and Wales Cricket Board and Sport England.
It now boasts a clubroom with integrated kitchen and toilets, six team changing rooms, two official rooms, disabled access and a spectator’s area and canopy, which complements improvements to the cricket squares, football pitches and outdoor sports courts.
Mr Iqbal said: “Bedfordshire is very lucky to have such a passionate and inspirational CEO in Martin Darlow who has worked relentlessly since his appointment to raise the bar at every level of the game. We are grateful for his support and dedication to the Allan Park project.
“Special thanks also to Phil Nicholson, Parks Development Officer who has gone the extra mile in this project and has opened the doors for continued engagement with all the various cricket bodies.”