Monday 15 February 2010 

Cricket In State Schools Rises From The Ashes

Jenny Gunn
Cricket In State Schools Rises From The Ashes
© Chance to Shine
 
Rosalie Birch
Cricket In State Schools Rises From The Ashes
© Chance to Shine
 
Alastair Cook
Cricket In State Schools Rises From The Ashes
© Chance to Shine
 

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England stars turned out in force on 23 June for “Chance to shine National Cricket Day”.  Tim Bresnan, Alastair Cook, Charlotte Edwards MBE, Jenny Gunn, Graeme Swann and Luke Wright were among those who went back to school for the day to support the Cricket Foundation’s Chance to shine campaign.

Thousands of girls and boys in over 1,000 primary and secondary state schools across the country from Newquay to Newcastle, Newport to Norwich, took part in cricket classes, break-time batting and extra-curricular cricket competitions.

The Cricket Foundation also launched a unique educational resource - “CricEd” - that uses cricket to bring a fresh perspective to the Curriculum.  Pupils at Mossbourne Community Academy in East London, for example, learned Pythagoras' theorem in Maths by looking at the angles of cricket shots while students at St Mary’s School in East Sussex identified cricket-playing countries in their Geography class. 

England Women stars Charlotte Edwards, Katherine Brunt, Jenny Gunn and Lydia Greenway, fresh from their success in the ICC World Twenty20, were all on hand on the day to help out in the special cricket lessons.  Captain Edwards brought her leadership skills to Mossbourne school in Hackney and said, “This year’s Chance to shine National Cricket Day is even bigger and better than last year.  It’s great to see so many girls and boys enjoying a day of cricket. I’ve loved coaching in local Chance to shine state schools over the past year. I only wish I’d had cricket-themed lessons when I was at school!” 

Joining the England Women’s captain in the cricket Maths class was England and Essex opener Alastair Cook who remarked, “Cricket can offer so much to people, both young and old. It’s played a central role in my life, teaching me skills that can be used off the pitch as well as on it.  Chance to shine National Cricket Day will hopefully inspire lots of children to give cricket a go and, who knows, it might even uncover a cricket star of the future.”

The innovative web-based resource – available for teachers to download from criced.org – were popular with children and teachers alike.  Pupils at Mossbourne described how Maths lessons were much more interesting with a cricket element and Sarah Law, head teacher at Jesse Gray Primary, Nottingham, said: “It’s been fantastic and the children have been so excited.”

The whole cricket community teamed up for Chance to shine National Cricket Day with joint events between the Cricket Foundation and the ECB, MCC and the Lord’s Taverners. The Professional Cricketers’ Association also provided pro bono support with its network of high-profile cricketing ambassadors.

Events ranged from a MCC Spirit of Cricket festival on Perranporth Beach in Cornwall with traditional cream teas provided by teenagers on the Prince’s Trust and Chance to shine ‘xl’ project, to an Army cricket camp in Worcester with Graeme Hick MBE joining in cricket and army-based activities including climbing walls and inflatable assault courses.

The Cricket Foundation and MCC also teamed up to launch a special MCC Spirit of Cricket competition on Chance to shine National Cricket Day. Pupils were encouraged to design A3 poster adverts that promote the ‘play hard, play fair, have fun’ message of the MCC Spirit of Cricket. 

The best entry will win a money-can’t-buy prize: tickets for the winner, and family (maximum four people), to the sold-out England v Australia Test match at Lord’s, courtesy of MCC. The winning poster advert will also be displayed on the big screens at Lord’s.

The Cricket Foundation’s £50million Chance to shine campaign has wide-ranging support from the England & Wales Cricket Board, Sport England, The Lord’s Taverners, MCC, Professional Cricketers’ Association and Youth Sports Trust. Allianz and Slazenger are the campaign’s main corporate sponsors. 

Wasim Khan, Director of Operations and Development for the Cricket Foundation said, “We’re delighted by the overwhelming response, both from schools and the cricket community, to this year’s Chance to shine National Cricket Day. The World Twenty20 in June and the Ashes series have really captured the imagination of people right across the country and our schools want to be a part of this amazing Summer of Cricket.”

Jordan, 10, from Newquay underlined the importance of days like Chance to shine National Cricket Day when he said, "I used to play for a club but because of today, I had so much fun, I might join up again."

England and Nottingham spinner Graeme Swann said, “There’s a real buzz around cricket at the moment and the passion shown by the children involved in ‘Chance to shine National Cricket Day’ is fantastic to see. It’s a real privilege to be able to pass on the skills I’ve learned from cricket to young people and it’s great to see Chance to shine going from strength to strength.”

Chance to shine ambassador and cricket fan Stephen Fry even gave the charity a mention via Twitter and tweeted to his many followers: ‘Cricket in state schools. So important.  Get with National Cricket Day.  Biggest sports initiative ever.  Yay!’

Further details on the Chance to shine’s charitable campaign, including ways to donate, can be found at www.chancetoshine.org

© Cricket World 2010