The Lord's Taverners February 22, 2007

New cricket centre opens in London

Cricinfo staff

Mike Gatting, president of the Lord's Taverners © Getty Images

A new state-of-the-art cricketing facility has been opened in the heart of urban London, thanks to funding from Westminster City Council, The Lord's Taverners and further funding worth £1m from the UK's largest sports charity, the Football Foundation.

The new facility comprises of four flood-lit batting strips with the first "Premier System" synthetic surface in Central London. The "Premier System" provides inner-city youngsters with county-class cricket nets and the opportunity to practise the sport whatever the weather, day or night.

The new cricket nets were unveiled by Mike Gatting, President of The Lord's Taverners, during a ceremony at Paddington Recreation Ground, Maida Vale on Thursday 22 February. Gatting, the last captain to lead England to Ashes victory in Australia, later helped coach the aspiring sports stars.

"The Lord's Taverners are delighted to have made a grant of £40,000 to help fund the cricket nets at the Paddington Recreation Ground," said Gatting. "The Paddington Rec is now one of the best sporting facilities in inner London. The challenge now is to ensure that these facilities are used by as many young people in the locality as possible. Middlesex and England could do with some home-grown talent just down the road from Lord's."

Thursday's event kicked off a two-day cricketing festival designed to encourage budding sportsmen from across the capital. Gatting was joined by the Middlesex captain and former England cricketer, Ed Smith, and other Middlesex players, to provide a private coaching session for over 30 children from the Capital Kids Cricket project.