ILKLEY Cricket Club may have to be rebuilt on stilts to protect it from the threat of repeated flooding.

The club has been hit by four floods in five years and officials are now looking at a rebuild which could cost between £200,000 and £250,000.

The latest damage was caused when Storm Ciara struck on February 9, leaving two feet of water on the outfield and damaging new outdoor nets. It also left one foot of water in the tackle shed and seeped into every room of the clubhouse.

Storm Dennis threatened to cause further havoc when it struck a week later - and officials say flood defence measures put in place along Denton Road and Middleton Avenue could have made the club's situation even worse if the river had burst its banks.

Chairman Nic Fearnley said: "We have flood defences that we use and they work to some extent but the problem is when you have three feet of water pounding against your walls and foundations underground, something has to give and the water literally comes from under the building.

"This destroys the carpets and the whole building has to be stripped and de-humidified and we start again. Our new outdoor nets were only completed 72 hours prior to this flood and they were damaged with only one player having an hour's use of them.

"We have a great spirit at our club and a great set of lads, nothing defeats us and we had 18 volunteers turn up, including the chairman, president and secretary to move ten tons of gravel that had swept from the car park to the playing surface all by hand, strip all carpets out of the clubhouse and remove debris from the ground trapped at our fences.

"We need to look at a rebuild of our clubhouse, to be put on 3ft of stilts as we believe talking to the Environmental Agency, local council, builders and architects it’s the only way to stop this re-occurring and we know it is only a matter of time before it does again.

"There is no possibility according to the experts to stop the water getting in after looking at various suggested options. The cost of this rebuild could be in the region of £200,000 to £250,000 and this is a bridge too far to fundraise independently."

He added: "We would require a grant for this and we are already looking into possibilities, ECB, YCB, Lottery, and sports grants.

After the army was called in to shore up the town's defences club secretary Brian Wheeler said: "Ilkley Cricket Club welcomed the use of the additional flood defence work last weekend but was disappointed that the protection implemented on Denton Road and Middleton Avenue actually exposed the club and its ground to much greater damage had the river burst its banks because of Storm Dennis".

He praised the work of club members who cleared the debris left by Storm Ciara on the outfield, lifted carpets from the clubhouse and cleared rubbish from perimeter fencing.

He said: "We were very anxious that following all that work Storm Dennis would have merely returned the car park debris back to the outfield especially given that more flood water was being directed towards the club. The club is now giving serious consideration to a rebuild of the club because it is self evident now that we are now more vulnerable in the future. We hope that we can get support from the town should we start the process of raising the footprint of a new clubhouse."

He added: "Sadly we have to accept that protecting a leisure facility will not be the highest priority but it is hoped that the community recognises our acceptance of the situation. It is inevitable that we will need some expert opinion to make the best of a situation that that will certainly arise again."

The club has more than 140 junior members aged from six to 18, as well as older members playing senior cricket at the weekends.