Highland Cricket Club debut Fraser Park's new artificial wicket in North of Scotland Reserve League opening-day victory over Northern Counties
Easier access to your trusted, local news. Subscribe to a digital package and support local news publishing.
Highland Cricket Club have successfully installed an artificial wicket at their Fraser Park home.
It was a long process that involved national lottery funding, contributions from the Scottish Cricket Development Trust as well as support from Highland Council and High Life Highland.
The club were the only outfit in the North of Scotland Cricket Association not to at least have the option of playing on an artificial pitch, but now hope it will bring plenty of options to help expand and develop the sport in Inverness.
Highland hope the wicket will be used to promote junior cricket, school cricket, as well as presenting the option to restart welfare leagues in midweek evenings and helping ensure matches go ahead at weekends if the weather is questionable.
It was used for the first time as Highland kicked off their Nosca Reserve League campaign last Sunday against city rivals Northern Counties, with Highland eeking out a dramatic two-wicket victory in the final over.
Before play began, Inverness Millburn Councillor Isabelle Mackenzie officially opened the new artificial pitch.
"We have managed to install a synthetic wicket at Fraser Park," Highland Cricket Club chairman John Paul said.
"We weren't sure when this would happen, because if the weather was bad the contractor would not have installed it, but it was actually all right so we managed to get it done last week.
"We asked a local councillor to come an inaugurate it for us – Isabelle Mackenzie kindly agreed to come along and hit a ball to get us started before the match against Northern Counties at Fraser Park.
"We explored all sorts of options, and the club was in a good position last year with new members coming on board and a new committee.
"We were thinking about cricket for the future in our decision making, rather than cricket for the now, and we felt that this was the way forward given that we were the only club in the North of Scotland with no artificial surface.
"We went ahead and got all the applications in, and we were lucky that it was well supported by the council to help move it on. I'm very pleased with the outcome so far."