IT CAN be the most lonely walk for a batsman.
But next season Eynsham cricketers can find solace that the lonely trudge from the wicket will be to a new pavilion, rather than a portable building.
Two years after their pavilion was burnt to the ground in a suspected arson attack, Eynsham Cricket Club is to see work begin on a new “hutch”.
It is hoped the new pavilion will be completed in time for the tail-end of the upcoming season around September.
The new pavilion costs £170,000, with the Cassington Road club receiving a substantial payout from insurers following the fire.
It then got a £50,000 grant from Sport England and £22,000 each from Eynsham Parish Council and West Oxfordshire District Council.
Secretary Allen Stevens said: “It’s been difficult the last two years as we have been operating out of portacabins with limited facilities.
“Having these new facilities will be valuable for the village, will allow us to attract new members and offer a better match day experience for visiting teams.”
The club is home to 100 members and fields two sides in the Oxfordshire Cricket Association League. It also has a Sunday village and junior teams.
The previous pavilion was built in 2006 following five years of fundraising.
But it was burnt down in February 2012 in a suspected arson attack.
The new building, which got district council planning permission in August 2012, will include changing facilities, toilets, a social area, kitchen, bar and viewing terrace First team secretary Gary Cook said: “It’s vital for the club that we get the pavilion up and running to attract new players.
“It is also important in helping to make it a welcoming place for supporters and visiting teams. It’s not been ideal the last two years, but it’s brought the club together even more.”
Club chairman Sue Cook said: “To watch it all go up in smoke was devastating but the village got behind us straight away. It is a wonderful feeling to have that support.”
Members hoped to start work this month, but flooding scuppered their plans. Once the water clears, builders and members will work together to lay the base down, before starting work on the main structure of the building.
A building committee has been formed, but any offers of help or materials can be made to Gary Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org