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Posted in Facilties and Funding

After three years of hard work The Christopher Ondaatje Devon Cricket Centre at Exeter University was opened in July.

I first got involved in the project shortly after I joined the ECB three years ago as a Regional Funding & Facilities Manager. I attended a meeting with my colleague, Bruce Cruse, to discuss with the Devon County Board and Exeter University the possibility of a cricket centre.

The centre has four lanes of nets which can be put away to provide a multi-use area ideal for indoor cricket and fielding practice. The centre also has a video analysis room, reception, bag drop, viewing area and office space. The office has fantastic views over Exeter where it is hoped it will become a regional centre for ECB development staff in the area.

The design of the centre was critical. It had to fit in with the surrounding buildings, as well as meet the demands of the users. In this aspect it has been a great success and all its future users should have a great experience.

This concept was developed over the next couple of years until construction began in August 2008. During this time our involvement on the project was to provide advice on design, usage and management as well as securing the majority of the funding for the project. The partnership that has formed between the ECB, Exeter University and Devon County Board has been critical in ensuring this project will be a success for many years to come.

I arrived at an eye-watering 7am on the opening day and was given a tour of the new facility. Although I had seen it a number of times during construction this was the first time I had seen the completed centre. It surpassed my expectations and will provide a fantastic facility for the development of the game in Devon. The talented youngsters now have a quality facility on their doorstep.

ECB Chairman Giles Clarke and Mike Gatting were invited to be guests of honour at the opening. After the speeches, Mike, in his usual effervescent style, ran a coaching session with a number of the university’s and Devon’s talented players whilst juggling media interviews.

This was the first time that it had been properly used and by all accounts it was fantastic, although I did overhear a few comments of it being a bit quick and bouncy, probably more of an indication of the slow low wickets a lot of our youngsters have been brought up on.

This summer seems to be full of openings of big projects that I have been involved with over the last few years. It is amazing to see them come to fruition and see the results of your hard work.