Welcome Back Park Avenue!
Bradford Park Avenue never lost its essential charm. This iconic venue is now on the verge of entering the modern era where new memories will be made; where Yorkshire’s latest heroes and heroines will walk hand-in-hand with Club legends.
It’s been over 125 years since Bradford Park Avenue first hosted county cricket. The venue is steeped in history, staging over 300 First-Class matches. However, in 1996, that proud run came to an end when Yorkshire ceased playing there. By that time, the celebrated double-sided stand that joined the cricket and football grounds had already vanished and the cricket ground had changed beyond recognition.
Through an innovative collaboration, Yorkshire CCC, the English Cricket Board [ECB] and the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council (CBMDC) have worked successfully together over the past year or so to create a modern Park Avenue; one which has overcome unforeseen delay (the discovery of mineshafts from the Victorian era was problematic) to deliver a wonderful contemporary community cricket facility.
The 21st century Park Avenue will support the cricket needs of its municipal users in an inclusive way. It will be a place where the people of Bradford and beyond can enjoy, participate in, and benefit from, cricket – irrespective of age, gender or cultural background or level of physical mobility; be they committed or recreational cricketers.
It will incorporate a state-of-the-art eight-pitch outdoor net facility and associated changing pavilion. The playing square, the outfield, the scoreboard and groundsman’s equipment storage are all being upgraded to a standard capable of supporting First-Class county cricket. Moreover, it will provide a playing surface beyond the wildest expectations of the vibrant and diverse local cricketing community.
There will be eleven upgraded wickets (which should be available for the 2018 season) and six original wickets are being maintained to safeguard and sustain community cricket throughout the 2017 season; these will be upgraded at the end of the 2017 season.
The project has been delivered through a cocktail of funding: the ECB has contributed around £520k and CBMDC approximately £300k to finance the delivery of these community initiatives.
This is just the first chapter of a new story: the vision continues for the existing cricket ground to be further redeveloped with a new county pavilion and improved terracing so that it can become the home of the Yorkshire Diamonds women’s cricket team. It will also be available for England Women and England Disability test matches and will be capable of hosting county cricket for YCCC.
Welcome back, Park Avenue!