Yobs used a bench to smash through a reinforced window before starting a fire at one of the biggest cricket clubs in Bradford.

The fire, which happened shortly before 4.30am yesterday at Undercliffe Cricket Club, is believed to have caused thousands of pounds-worth of damage.

It is thought that two males were responsible for the arson attack. They are believed to have spent some time trying to smash the window.

Fire crews said an unknown accelerant was used to set the curtains on fire.

Club secretary Rodney Broadbent said: “There is considerable damage, but the club will remain open.”

Fire crews from Idle and Bradford stations were called to the club at 4.27am.

A spokesman from Idle station said: “Unknown persons got a bench from outside and smashed one of the reinforced windows, and then set fire to the curtains inside. It spread down the curtains and seating area.

“We got there quite quickly and stopped the fire quite quickly. The majority of the property is okay.”

He added: “There is damage to the bar area.”

David Ward MP, whose Bradford East constituency includes Undercliffe, said: “It is just awful, really. What people do not realise about these clubs – cricket clubs and football clubs – is that they make incredible contributions to local communities.

“People can go along and watch, particularly at Undercliffe, a high standard of sport. People do not realise, also, all the work they do with young people – the coaching and the work with school kids. They are making a huge difference in the community.

“It is not just an attack against the club, but it is also an attack on the community as well.”

He added: “This is robbing the club.”

Undercliffe CC, a founder member of the Bradford league, will host this year’s Priestley Cup final on August 24. The club is one of the district’s most successful, having won the league championship nine times and the Priestley Cup on 13 occasions.

Former players include David Bairstow, the ex-Yorkshire and England wicketkeeper.