A BRIGHTON boy done good is giving back to his hometown by launching a cricket academy for disadvantaged pupils.

Sir Rod Aldridge, who is now worth more than £100 million, wants the centre of sports excellence to rival the facilities of top private schools when it opens next week at Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA).

The Rod Aldridge Cricket Centre is the latest addition to the privately sponsored academy backed by the businessman and founder of outsourcing giant Capita.

According to school governor and chairman of Sussex Cricket, Jim May, the facility will give less advantaged students of the academy and its sister school Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA) opportunities usually available only to more privileged pupils.

Mr May said: “Our aspiration is to make this better than what they have at private schools. Better in terms of facilities and in terms of outcomes.

“A big part of making this happen has been down to the drive of Sir Rod. He simply doesn’t understand the word ‘no’.”

The centre has been built in less than a year at a cost of £1.8 million, which is privately donated and largely from Sir Rod himself.

It features a physiotherapy room, a well-equipped gym with the same cycling machines used at the Rugby World Cup, and a main hall room with three full-sized cricket nets on state of the art matting designed to emulate the bounce of a real wicket.

The nets are long enough for the full 17-pace run-ups of the academy team’s fast bowlers, with bowling machine and fielding machines.

The academy team, which will train in the facilities in the afternoons after A-level studies in the morning, already boasts rising England Women’ Under-19 star Tara Norris.

Technicians, analysts and coaches will also have the chance to rise through the ranks and gain England and Wales Cricket Board coaching qualifications.

The Aldridge Cricket Academy formally opens on Wednesday June 29 with the first game will be held against Prince Charles’ alma mater, Scottish private school Gordonstoun, on Saturday.