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Essex Cricket Club record small loss as annual accounts are revealed

The County Ground in Chelmsford. Credit: PA

Essex County Cricket Club have revealed their annual accounts.

The club made a small loss of £82,000 last year, but 2015 is looking more positive after tickets for the Australia tour match in July virtually sold out.

The T20 Blast tickets also selling well.

"In financial terms, 2014 turned out to be very similar to the previous year. This is despite the team reaching two Quarter-Finals and the sterling efforts of our highly efficient and highly regarded commercial team.

In the first season of the new format for County Cricket, net ticket and hospitality income was up compared to the previous year. Again T20 matches provided the lion's share and it remains to be seen whether the Royal London One-Day Cup played in the height of summer attracts more spectators in 2015.

With the same format as 2014 continuing and with four days against the Australians, the budget for 2015 looks a little healthier."

– David Acfield, Club Treasurer

Northampton Saints star George North to see brain specialist over concussion scares

George North in action against Wasps. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints winger George North will see a brain specialist before the weekend to see when he can return to rugby.

The Wales star was knocked unconscious during last week's Premiership match with Wasps.

It's the third time that North has been knocked out in the space of two months.

Nathan Hughes, the man who struck him, has been banned for three weeks.

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Research centre gets broccoli patent

Staff at the John Innes Centre Credit: ITV News Anglia

A Norfolk research centre has won its legal battle to patent a new variety of broccoli.

The Beneforte broccoli was created at the John Innes Centre in the 1990s. Research suggests it could reduce the risk of heart disease and even some cancers.

The test case focused on whether plants could be patented under European law.

North 'feeling ok' after concussion

Winger George North says he is "feeling okay" after being knocked out in Northampton's Aviva Premiership clash with Wasps on Friday.

George North says he's 'feeling ok' after clash Credit: PA

North scored two tries in the Saints' 52-30 win but after the second, he was caught on the head by the knee of Wasps forward Nathan Hughes, who was sent off for dangerous play but protested his innocence.

North left the field unconscious and in a neck brace but the club tweeted just before half-time that he was "awake" and the player wrote on his own Twitter account on Saturday that he was "up and about."

"He is okay now; he is up and walking about in the dressing room. It is a knock to his head, which is not good. We will look after him and make sure he comes back when he is right."

– Jim Mallinder, Director of Rugby Northampton

The injury was a worrying sight after North took two blows to the head in his country's RBS 6 Nations clash with England.

Organiser: "Having the Rugby World Cup tour here will be fantastic for the growth of the sport"

The Webb Ellis Trophy will be touring the region in August. Credit: Rugby World Cup 2015

The organiser of the Eastern Leg of the Rugby World Cup Trophy tour says the event will be fantastic for the growth of the sport in the region.

Andrew Sarek is an RFU council member based in Essex.

The Webb Ellis trophy will be displayed at several venues when the tour reaches the Eastern Counties in August, including Colchester Rugby Club.

Andrew Sarek. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"Rugby is a growing sport, it's got a great ethos, and it attracts an awful lot of people.

To actually have the World Cup here in the region will really help to make people feel part of it. It will be fantastic."

– Andrew Sarek, Regional World Cup tour organiser

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Luton Town swoop for Aston Villa defender Kinsella

Lewis Kinsella will spend the rest of the season at Luton Town. Credit: PA

Luton Town have signed Aston Villa defender Lewis Kinsella on loan for the rest of the season.

The 20-year-old left-back has featured in recent Villa squads, and played a part in the FA Cup win over West Brom.

“We are very lucky to have a player of Lewis’ calibre – it speaks volumes that he has been on Villa’s bench for their last two Premier League games.

With Scott unavailable and needing an operation we are light of players in that area, and with that in mind, we’re delighted to be able to do a deal to bring Lewis to Luton Town."

– John Still, Luton Town Manager

Meanwhile, Luton duo Ross Lafayette and Ian Rees have joined Welling United and Hitchin Town respectively on loan.

Ipswich Town strike late deal for Crystal Palace pair Williams and Fryers

Jonny Williams has joined Ipswich Town for a third time. Credit: PA

Ipswich Town have signed Crystal Palace pair Jonny Williams and Zeki Fryers on loan.

Midfielder Williams has joined for a third spell at Portman Road, and is eligible to make his latest debut in the clash with Bournemouth on Good Friday.

The Welshman saw a loan spell cut short earlier this season after picking up an injury.

Zeki Fryers in action for Tottenham Hotspur. Credit: PA

Meanwhile, left-back Fryers has also joined.

The 22-year-old was seen as a big prospect at Manchester United, before he agreed a controversial move to Tottenham Hotspur.

However, he failed to make the grade at White Hart Lane and moved to Palace last summer.

In terms of outgoings, Ipswich striker Paul Taylor has joined Blackburn Rovers on loan until the end of the season.

Peterborough United complete triple swoop as Vassell joins Oxford United

Luke Williams in action for Coventry City. Credit: PA

Peterborough United have completed a triple loan deadline day swoop, with Middlesbrough's Luke Williams, Leicester City's James Pearson and Bradford City Alan Sheehan all joining.

Left-back Sheehan and striker Williams join until the end of the season, while Pearson has signed until May 24.

Kyle Vassell has joined Oxford United. Credit: PA

Meanwhile, Posh striker Kyle Vassell has joined Oxford United until the end of the season.

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