SPORT is back, and for Toft Cricket Club there are many reasons to have renewed optimism around the restart, writes Jack Heale.

Toft have indicated that there are positive signs ahead of a planning application decision on their new clubhouse, in the same week the club announce record numbers at senior training.

Nigel Muirhead, a player at Toft for 24 years, said: “We have put in revised planning applications for the new pavilion. We had over 70 positive comments from the public during the consultation and we’re expecting a decision as to whether that will be approved or not around the end of April.

“But all indications are positive. Heritage Trees, conservation, have all given their support to the proposal so we’re hoping that’s a positive sign.”

The application was resubmitted in the middle of January.

“It’s massive for us and the community. It’s going to be quite a number of years before we can probably do it because we’re going to have to raise a significant amount of money.

“But getting the planning application approved is a significant step for us should that happen.”

From March 29, amateur sport has been allowed to recommence, and that has brought about a remarkable turnout at Toft.

Around 45 people took to senior men’s training last Tuesday – their most ever – and over six new players across the club.

“A really great turnout and a positive start to the season which recommences in the league on Saturday, April 17,” Muirhead continued.

“On the social side of it, seeing people again, that’s fantastic.

“To see people enjoying themselves back playing cricket, for us as a club to start to reopen, that has a massive impact for us financially. It’s very positive all around.”

Outdoor netting refurbished, 20-plus new members for a ladies side, and a number of high-profile guests visiting over the summer, there is much to get excited about.

“For the first time, we’ve entered three Saturday teams into the Cheshire Cricket League which will play their home games in Great Budworth at Arley Hall,” he added.

“It’s the first time that we will be running four senior sides – three on a Saturday and one on a Sunday – just because of the number of players that we have got which is really great.”

rom this weekend onwards