June 19-23 saw cricket fever sweep the nation’s schools as hundreds of children and some VIP guests took part in National Cricket Week.
This year’s event included a junior journalism competition, an initiative designed to inspire children to develop their interest in writing and broadcasting, and – at the same time – to discover the nation’s top young journalists.
All Out Cricket’s very own Phil Walker is part of a judging panel also featuring Michael Vaughan, Nick Hoult of the Daily Telegraph, BBC TMS’ Alison Mitchell and broadcaster Tim Abraham. The winners of the two categories (under 11 and 12-16) will have their work published in All Out Cricket magazine and on this very website.
There was plenty else going on across the country during National Cricket week. On the Monday, Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara joined a Chance to Shine Street cricket session in Camden, North London. Kumar took on the eight-16 year olds playing tape ball cricket and also answered the young cricketers questions.
Then on the Tuesday, former England stars Matt Prior and Lydia Greenway visited Shoreham-by-Sea. They gave the Year 7 and 8 pupils, of Shoreham Secondary Academy, the benefit of their valuable experience before talking them through their favourite cricketing moments as part of the journalism competition.
The following day there was a cricket tournament held for girls in Southampton, with nearly 100 Year 6 girls from the local primary schools taking part in a Chance to Shine cricket tournament. The girls were watched by three of the England Women’s 2009 World Cup winning side: Isa Guha, Lydia Greenway and then captain Charlotte Edwards. They provided the girls with some coaching and advice to help them develop their skills.
On Thursday, Sunny Spofforth in Yorkshire was the venue for an all-day festival of cricket. First up was an MCC Spirit of Cricket Assembly led by Edwards, discussing the values and integrity of cricket. Former England men’s player James Taylor talked the pupils through his own health problems and the lessons he learned from the sport that help him deal with it. Both then helped the pupils develop their own skills as part of an action-packed afternoon at the local cricket club.
England Learning Disability captain Chris Edwards visited Millwood SEN School, near Manchester, taking part in some innovative and specially designed coaching sessions that catered for those less able to take part in mainstream cricket. As well helping with some table cricket, Chris talked about his own experience of attending an SEN school and how he progressed on to leading his country.
Yorkshire Tea National Cricket Week is an initiative to showcase the work of the national charity, Chance to Shine. The organisation aims to use the power of cricket to raise aspirations and provide young people across the country with the opportunity to play and learn through the sport.