THE sale of a historic sports club looks likely to go ahead in a bid to secure its future.

Crunch talks were held between members of the East Lancashire Club on Wednesday night who voted to sell the freehold of the Alexandra Meadows venue to the Old Blackburnians Association.

The idea of selling the club, which was formed in 1864, was first discussed in 2013.

Club bosses hope the sale will shore up its finances and allow it to bid for grant funding as well as keep the facility open for community use.

The club was first formed in 1864 by officers of the East Lancashire Regiment and the East Lancashire cricket team has been an ever-present member of the Lancashire League since its foundation in 1892.

Over the years it has grown to be one of the premier sports and social clubs in the town offering crown green bowls and squash as well.

The Old Blackburnians Association is made up of pupils from Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School (QEGS) who announced plans to sell its football club site in Lammack Road in 2014.

Mark Lomas, East Lancashire Club chairman, said: “As with most clubs we are not in the best financial situation.

“We have suffered falling membership numbers, not as many people are watching cricket and we have big overheads.

“The Old Blackburnians are looking to sell Lammack for housing and they wanted to reinvest in another property.

“With the club being next to QEGS and with us not being particularly financially sound they came to us with a deal.

“It would allow QEGS to use it as a school and us to carry on as we are now.

“It would allow us to invest in the club and grow as well as being in a better position to apply for grants.”

Mr Lomas said they had to put the proposal to members at an extraordinary general meeting and it was met with approval.

“We had to hold the meeting to tell them where we were,” he said.

“We can’t sell it without members’ agreement.

“We do not have any cash left to invest.

“Things need doing − the cricket nets need replacing and one of the fields needs sorting out but we do not have the money to do it.

“It was costing money for the upkeep so in the long-term this will help the club carry on for however many years.

“This is a deal that has helped secure the future of the club.”

He said they will be looking at signing a 100-year lease with the Old Blackburnians Association which will allow them to build a bigger and better sporting facility for Blackburn and open it up to the community.

He added the deal is dependent on the sale of Lammack but it has given the club security that the money will be there in the future.

A spokeswoman for QEGS said: “Interest in the possible purchase has been shown from the Old Blackburnians Association, which is independent of the School.

“QEGS has used some of the facilities at East Lancashire Cricket Club for some time.

“It is a fine asset for Blackburn. Naturally, as very long-term next door neighbours we have been kept advised of the situation with the club through discussion between both bodies.

“We remain interested in the club’s future. It follows that we hope to continue and develop our close association.”