A cricket club in the region has been given the green light to begin welcoming the next generation of cricketing stars.

Riding Mill, who in 2021 will also join the West Tyne Cricket League with a new team, have also now been granted the ECB’s All Stars Programme, with weekly sessions expected to get underway from May 7.

The programme is designed for junior players aged five to eight and helps each individual improve their skills development while also having fun at the same time.

Each session will be led by head coach Iain Longstaff who is a level three Sports Development coach, and he’ll be joined by 10 ECB qualified activators as part of the project.

Currently clubs around the region including Tynedale, Stocksfield, Allendale, Corbridge and Stanfordham all also are part of the programme, but 2021 will see Riding Mill also join the scheme.

“The places are filling up fast,” said club treasurer Steve Kent.

“When the registration opened, we got 23 kids signed up immediately. Courses run for eight consecutive weeks from Friday, May 7.”

The approval of the club being able to run the programme is another step forward for Riding Mill following a period of redevelopment which has seen them instal several new facilities over the last few months.

“The clubhouse development is moving on,” added Steve.

“The umpires changing room showers and loos will be in place for the start of the season as well.

“The square is beginning to look great as we’ve employed a professional groundsman to make sure the ground is as good as it possibly can be for the high level of cricket we’re looking for this season.

“Our local builder, David Nicholson, is doing a fantastic job. He and his team are working very closely with our club to develop a fantastic facility.

“Thanks must go to the Riding Mill Parish Council for all their fund raising efforts, complemented by all the efforts of the Cricket Club also.”

“We’re looking to expand on all fronts and hope to have in women’s and Under 13 cricket as soon as possible.”