“CRICKET is an essential part of integrating into and living within the rural community."

That is the view of businessman Ben Wharfe, who is finding new ways to help ensure the game is accessible to everyone in the Knutsford community.

The cost of supplying the right kit and equipment can be prohibitive to some, especially during the current rise in the cost of living, but Wharfe Rural Planning's managing director is seeking to help families by sponsoring the supply of training and match day kit at Toft Cricket Club.

The thriving junior membership at Toft, which is over 200 strong from aged eight to 18, has been supplied with new hoodies and traditional cricket whites as part of a new, multi-year sponsorship initiative.

“As one of the leading clubs in Cheshire, Toft Cricket Club is a true community asset and we are proud to be able to support the junior teams over the coming years,” explained Ben.

“Cricket is an essential part of integrating into and living within the rural community, to play or spectate, and Toft’s friendly and inclusive atmosphere enables the juniors especially, to improve their cricket skills and learn how teamwork really does make a difference to their game."

Nigel Muirhead, chairman of Toft CC, added: “As a club we rely on commercial partners to help provide and maintain all of our facilities.

“Much of what we do is provided by a team of passionate volunteers, and is highly valued by our membership who come from all over Knutsford and the surrounding area, but this new kit is helping establish a strong sense of club identity across our age groups."

Head coach Jimmy Lomas added: “The reaction from our junior members has been awesome, they love it. Every player now looks the part and enters the field brimming with confidence wearing their new sponsored kit."

Ben concluded: “My children have embraced the game, and as a family we love to spend time playing and spectating in such a wonderful location.

"Hopefully our sponsorship can help extend that enjoyment to even more families across the Knutsford area.”

Junior training continues at Toft throughout the summer. For more details contact juniors@toftcc.co.uk