A NEW sporty area has opened in one of Southampton's central parks for the community to use all year round.

A multi-use games area (MUGA) has opened in Hoglands Park today and is suitable for both informal recreation and organised sport.

It is free to use all year round for the local community to enjoy.

Fitted with a polymeric sports surface, basketball hoops and football goals, the MUGA provides many options to play sport in the city centre. It also has markings to play cage cricket, making it the first purpose-built cage cricket set up in the south.

Cage cricket is a ‘street to elite’ game and uniquely, the only form of competitive cricket played as an individual.

Cage Cricket made a financial contribution towards building the MUGA with the rest secured with funding from Section 106 developers’ contributions.

Other community groups including West Itchen Community Trust and Awaaz Radio have also been involved with the project.

Colin Salmon, Chair of Cage Cricket Play said: “I’m committed to looking for opportunities to engage communities in this new sport of Cage Cricket.

"We’ve been developing and fine tuning this all inclusive dynamic game and thrilled to share it with St Marys and the surrounding areas in Southampton.

"These purpose built Multi Use Games Areas are stellar and show that with will and a little imagination, the sport can also be added to new fabrications and adapted to existing infrastructure making it economically possible.”

Councillor Spiros Vassiliou, Cabinet Member for Communities, Culture & Heritage added: “Having accessible facilities for the local community to use for exercise and recreation is incredibly important.

"The MUGA is a fantastic addition to Hoglands Park and a fitting way to promote the parks long history with cricket.

"The MUGAs versatility is a real asset to this popular city park and is a positive step to encouraging more community and grass root sport to the area, especially with the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 coming to Southampton next year.

"I hope that the local community will enjoy this space for many years to come.”