AN alcohol-infused extravaganza celebrating craft ales, interesting ciders and cricket is returning to Halstead this weekend.

Halstead Cricket Club is hosting its 12th Real Ale and Cider Festival at its Star Stile ground, featuring entertaining music, exciting live sports and a large and refreshing range of beverages.

Friday evening’s itinerary, which starts at 6pm, will see drinkers sampling 12 different beers and five ciders while the Halstead Select XI take on the High Street Rangers in a T20 match.

A stunning performance from acoustic singer-songwriter Chloe Hawes will follow the match action.

The following day will start at noon with the Halstead 1st XI battling it out with Witham Cricket Club before well-known renditions from covers band Cakehole Mafia gets the place rocking.

Sunday’s crunch match with Wivenhoe Cricket Club, also set to start around noon, will conclude the three-day festival.

A barbecue will also be serving food across the weekend.

The event, which is free, will be used to raise money for Cancer Research UK and is also being hosted in memory of club stalwart Lloyd Rayner, who died earlier this year, aged 72, after a short battle against cancer.

Club cricketer Callum Hansey said: “We feel it really brings both the club members and also the town together. It’s an opportunity to show people what the club is about and display the fantastic facilities we have here at Star Stile.

“This year we will also be raising money for Cancer Research UK, one of the chosen charities of Lloyd Rayner, a true club legend who passed away during the season.

“Charity buckets will be present around the club and we are looking to do some extra fundraising over the weekend. We will be sure to have a beer for Lloydy.”

The real ale and cider festival takes place all weekend.

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