0 County cricket could be set for a return to Folkestone

County cricket could be set for a return to Folkestone, Kent chief executive Jamie Clifford has revealed.

Cheriton Road hosted its last county game back in 1991 but exciting new redevelopments at the club have put Folkestone back in line to host first-class cricket again.

Last month Folkestone staged a Kent second-team game when Essex came to town and county chiefs are continuing to keep close tabs on progress at the club.

Clifford said: "We've made no secret that we are big supporters of taking county cricket around the county. To do that we need quality venues and Folkestone is a place that has hosted county cricket in the past.

"They've done work on the pitches and the club is undergoing an ambitious redevelopment scheme to build a new pavilion.

"They need that to bed in but once that's done I'm sure they'll be in a good position to host first-class cricket in the future.

"It's a long road to go down and it's not just going to happen next year or the year after.

"It's very difficult to put a timeframe on it as these things do take time. Pitch preparation doesn't happen overnight and you don't just flick a switch and it suddenly becomes ready.

"But the club are very keen to make the effort to keep a positive dialogue with the people at Folkestone, like we have done.

"It sits well with our theory of taking cricket around Kent as it is something that works for us and the games are always well-supported."

The club will knock their pavilion down over the winter and the new impressive structure is less than three months away from being completed. Some of the best indoor nets in the county have also been built at Cheriton Road.

Folkestone captain and groundsman Josh Bryen has played a big part in getting the playing surface in tip-top shape and he admits the club would love to get Kent back in the town once more. Bryen said: "Plenty of people talk about Kent playing here and seeing the marquees and beer tents up and they say it was an atmosphere similar to the St Lawrence Ground.

"I haven't been fortunate enough to see county cricket played on the ground myself but the chance to bring that back would be fantastic.

"The county are actively involved in the facility itself and the groundsman Andy Pearson has come down this week to help me with the autumn renovation of the pitches. It shows they're keen to keep a close interest in us.

"The pitches take a few seasons to bed in and once that's done they should be in really good condition."

"Even next year there will be a marked improvement as it takes two years to really get them firmed up and flattened out, then they'll be back to their best.

"Getting county cricket back at some stage is definitely on the agenda and as a club we most definitely want that.

"We're going to have the facilities to cater for that and it's a case of taking small steps at a time to achieve it.

"It all comes down to the hard work of five or six members of the Cheriton Road Sports Ground Trust (CRSGT), who are doing so much for the love of the club.

Article sourced from This is Kent

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