Michael Gough, a former Hartlepool Durham County and England Under 19 cricketer, now a world renowned ICC umpire, visited High Tunstall College of Science to see the ground that now proudly bears his name.
The Michael Gough Junior Cricket Ground (MGCG) has been developed in partnership between Hartlepool Cricket Club, where Michael played from a youngster, and the school which has welcomed a host of new sports pitches and courts including a cricket wicket.
The cricket club’s junior section raised over £4,000 in four weeks through a 10 Grand Challenge to help improve the cricket facilities at High Tunstall which is being used by the club’s growing number of young players.
Michael, 43, who just weeks ago umpired test matches involving England, India and New Zealand, said: “It’s a real honour to have the Junior Section’s second ground named after me.
"It gives the children from the cricket club and High Tunstall access to great facilities. High Tunstall is a first class sporting hub.
"Having progressed through the ranks at Hartlepool Cricket Club, I fully understand the importance of having a strong junior provision.”
Sight screens and a batting cage have been bought with the money raised and cricket equipment specialists Lorimers are sponsoring the new facility.
There are further plans for seating and possibly a pavilion.
Over 170 children play at Hartlepool Cricket Club and the new ground has meant the club could enter junior teams in three different leagues.
David Thompson, chair of the junior section, said: “Due to the growing numbers of children playing cricket at Hartlepool Cricket Club we needed an additional facility to accommodate training and matches.
"This will hopefully inspire other children to play cricket and perhaps develop their interest in umpiring too.”
Chris Smith, director of coaching, added the ground’s potential is massive, providing a base when Park Drive, which High Tunstall also has the use of, isn’t available.
Sport science faculty leader Ben Holden added: “As a school we actively promote cricket throughout the different year groups.
"To have Michael Gough visit our school is a very proud moment.”
David thanked High Tunstall’s governors, headteacher Mark Tilling and Mr Holden for sharing the club’s vision.