Bristol youngsters take inaugural Wicketz title
The first ‘Wicketz’ National finals day proved to be a huge success this month (6-8 August) after Bristol emerged as inaugural winners of the competition at Arundel Castle Cricket Ground in West Sussex. The youngsters from Bristol proved to be too strong for Tottenham, West Ham and The Lord’s Taverners All Star XI to take home the trophy, after winning all three of their 20 over matches.
Wicketz is a new youth sports initiative aimed at getting more young people from London into cricket clubs and will help 1,500 youngsters from disadvantaged communities make the jump from playing soft-ball cricket to joining hard-ball cricket clubs and create new clubs where opportunities aren’t currently available.
Cricket clubs provide a safe, structured environment where young people can enjoy the physical and social benefits of playing the game while learning the vital life skills that cricket uniquely teaches. However, despite increased opportunities for disadvantaged youngsters to play soft-ball cricket in their local communities, less than 5% make the transition to joining mainstream cricket clubs and playing hard-ball cricket, with access to clubs often limited.
Wicketz is the only programme in the UK to focus on transition from soft-ball to hard-ball cricket in disadvantaged areas, with community coaching sessions, in-school delivery, festivals and local competitions taking place in targeted communities across the UK. Three new junior community cricket clubs have been established in Tottenham, Newham and Tower Hamlets to increase opportunities for some of the most disadvantaged young people in the UK. The top teams will travel to West Sussex in August to compete in the national finals at the Arundel Castle Cricket Ground, supported by Ford.
By improving access to cricket clubs, Wicketz will help increase the independence, self-confidence, motivation and communication skills of the programme’s participants, galvanise families and empower local communities.
Wicketz is the latest youth cricket initiative from The Lord’s Taverners, the official charity of recreational cricket. The programme is being run in partnership with Capital Kids, Sporting Equals, County Cricket Boards and Family Lives with support from Sport England and Berkeley Group.