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Council to approve £1m funding for new pavilion at Dartford Cricket Club

Dartford council is tomorrow night (Thursday) set to hand over £1 million for a new pavilion at Hesketh Park.

The current pavilion is in a poor state of repair and has asbestos.

The plans for the new one, by Sports Clubhouses, has already received planning permission.

Artist impressions of the new pavilion at Dartford Cricket Club

The new pavilion, likely to be bought in kit form, is set to include a permanent memorial to former player Graham Dilley, who died of cancer in October 2011, a campaign backed by the Messenger.

Dilley played at Dartford before going on to be part of the England cricket team which won the Ashes twice in the 1980s.

The family lived in Meopham but Dilley followed in his father and grandfather’s footsteps in playing for Dartford. He was in the Kent team at the age of 18 and was in the England team within months of his 20th birthday.

A fast bowler, he was once ticked off by the Dartford Second XI skipper for bowling bouncers, aged 15, at a tail-end batsman.

He took 138 wickets for England, but wrote his name in the cricket history books batting alongside Ian Botham during the 1981 Headingley Test when England won against the odds.

Graham Dilley in 1980 playing for Kent County Cricket Club

The team followed on against Australia but eventually won the match after the pair of them took the game to the Australian bowlers. He died in Leicestershire, where he had been working at Loughborough University.

The report before Dartford council cabinet members says: “There is some urgency to the initial stages of this project as these are tied to a potential manufacturing period at the supplier factory in Bosnia.

“Missing this opportunity will delay the project by several months, put the construction period into the winter and possibly miss the commencement of the new cricket season.”

Once construction is complete, it will be leased back to Dartford Cricket Club by the council.

The club also has plans to create an indoor cricket school away from Hesketh Park.

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