Bird funds balcony as reward for champions

REWARD: Yorkshire CCC president 'Dickie Bird. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
REWARD: Yorkshire CCC president 'Dickie Bird. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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Yorkshire County Cricket Club president Dickie Bird is to fund a new players’ balcony at Headingley.

The legendary umpire, now 81 and nominated by the Yorkshire board for a second term as club president, has paid for the project himself, with work to start in the next fortnight.

The new balcony will be built in front of the dressing rooms in the Carnegie Pavilion and will be ready for use by the time Warwickshire visit Headingley for a County Championship match on April 26.

The club announced last month that they were installing new permanent floodlights at the ground.

Former Test-match umpire Bird said: “These lads have given me so much pleasure over the past 12 months with their magnificent performances in the Championship and I wanted to reward them for their efforts. I want to invest in the team and give something back.

“When Martyn (Moxon, director of cricket) and Mark (Arthur, chief executive) said that the players need to have their own external balcony, located directly behind the bowler’s arm, I had no hesitation in making it happen.

“They will benefit from being outside watching the cricket rather than being behind glass in the current viewing area. It will also enhance the Carnegie Pavilion and create a focal point at that side of the ground.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the project come to fruition and being around to unveil it to the players in the next couple of months.

“These are very exciting times for Yorkshire cricket and the club as a whole.”

Yorkshire batsman Joe Root, meanwhile, has said England need to make a convincing statement that they belong in the competition when they meet Bangladesh and Afghanistan in their final two group games.

England must win both matches, against lower-ranked opponents, to have any chance of reaching the knockout stage after three heavy losses to co-hosts Australia, New Zealand and now Sri Lanka.

Root said: “We don’t want to just scrape through.

“We want to put in some really good performances in the next two games and put to bed some of the things that we’ve got wrong so far.”