Seeds sown at Willow Sports Centre

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Mike Gatting visits Willow Sports Centre in Derby

Mike Gatting hopes indoor cricket will receive renewed interest in the East Midlands after ECB invested £90,000 in Willow Sports Centre in Derby.

The facility, which hosts cricket, football and netball, has been given a complete facelift with the installation of new windows and lighting and the refurbishment of both the male and female dressing rooms. New tension netting has also been added to the three indoor cricket courts.

"It really has made a huge difference," said Gatting, who played a few strokes at the revamped venue. "Everyone who has had a look has been really impressed."

Gatting, ECB's Managing Director: Cricket Partnerships, joined in with local businesses and school pupils for a game of indoor cricket at the revamped centre.

The former England captain used to play indoor cricket during the winter, as did England women's vice-captain Jenny Gunn who was also present, and the pair urged current cricketers to keep up their skills outside of the summer.

"We want to give people the chance to play cricket all-year round," said Gatting. "There used to be about 50 of these centres and it used to be a good game. Boys and girls could play, all age groups, but if you wanted to play at the top level you could.

Indoor Cricket

Some enthusiastic youngsters from the local area have a go at indoor cricket at the newly refurbished Willow Sports Centre

"I used to play in a team in Aston Villa called Stumps and we had most of the Warwickshire first team guys there."

"For anyone that wants to play cricket, to keep things ticking over during the winter, or if you want a bit of fun, then everyone gets to bowl, everyone gets to bat. It really is good fun."

Gatting also added that people new to the sport can try their hand at indoor cricket.

"It lasts for a short period of time, it's a bit of exercise, perhaps a few drinks with your mates afterwards," said Gatting. "It's a lovely way to spend the evening."