New players and new facilities are pointing towards a bright future for Horsford Cricket Club.

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Completion of the new facilities is edging ever closer, after more than £115,000 of funding was secured, leaving captain Chris Brown hoping there is plenty to look forward to for players and officials at the club.

“We’re looking to establish the new players, because we’ve got a few young lads, to consolidate our position in the EAPL (East Anglian Premier League),” said Norfolk skipper Brown, now in his seventh season as captain of Horsford.

“A couple of years ago we finished third and had a good season but last year we struggled a bit so we’re looking to improve.

“The seconds have also started very well and had some good wins, as have the thirds, and the fourths are unbeaten, so there is a good atmosphere around the club at the moment.”

Horsford added several players to their squad for this season, including Norfolk batsman Ben France, who joined from Clacton.

Caleb Futter and Robbie Bridgestock joined from Vauxhall Mallards over the winter, as did Tom Vaughan from Norwich and Chris Read from Hales.

Durham University student Tim Alexander also joined from Clacton and the team has no overseas player as Stephan Marillier, originally from Zimbabwe, has now qualified as a British citizen.

So far the changes have put Horsford seventh in the EAPL standings, after an opening-day draw at Saffron Walden and an 83-run win at Mallards.

“I think we batted very well against Saffron Walden in the first game, on a very flat pitch, to put on 330-odd,” Brown continued. “We did well against Vauxhall Mallards but since then we’ve not really been firing on all cylinders.

“Having said that, it was rained off last weekend against Bury but we did beat Great Witchingham in the National T20 (Natwest Club T20) on Monday and played some good cricket.”

Adding to Brown’s optimism is a new pavilion for the second pitch at Manor Park, used by the club’s colts section, and an extension to the main pavilion.

The work was funded by a grant of £45,000 from the England and Wales Cricket Trust’s grant aid programme, as well as a £10,000 interest-free loan.

The rest of the funding was provided by a £50,000 grant from Sport England, through its Inspired Facilities Fund, and £10.000 from Norfolk County Council – with the cost of the project reaching a total of approximately £118,000.

That quest for more EAPL success continues against Norwich tomorrow at Ingham, near Stalham. Chris Borrett’s side are fifth in the EAPL table following their promotion last season, after an opening day win at Vauxhall Mallards and a home draw against Woolpit.

“Norwich are a good side, they’ve got some prominent local cricketers and they’ve been playing okay recently,” Brown added.

“I expect it will be a tough game but we are at full strength for the second time this season, so I’m looking forward to a good game.”

Have you got a cricket story? Contact sports reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418, @davefreezer on Twitter or email david.freezer@archant.co.uk

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