Youngsters enjoy Felsted Wicketz Festival
Over 90 young people, from seven projects, spanning five areas gathered at Felsted School this week to take part in the annual Wicketz Festival. The Essex School, steeped in history and renowned for its sporting prowess and facilities, once again played host to the event, allowing children to stay on site and experience something new.
On the first day, once everyone had arrived, they immediately got in to the swing of things, with the first round of games taking place. On the second day, the young people were treated to series of specialist masterclasses from some legends of the game. Monty Panesar taught the kids the art of spin bowling, Essex legend Graham Napier ran a fast-bowling clinic, Ashes winner Lydia Greenway ran batting sessions and former England test star Jason Gallian also offered valuable batting advice to the youngsters.
In the afternoon, the community aspect of the Wicketz programme came to the fore, as youngsters were able to attend sessions designed to help with life outside of cricket. Chris Syrus used music to talk about his experiences of crime, and prison, encouraging the kids to open up and express themselves, whilst also stressing the importance of making good decisions. StreetDoctors ran a seminar which saw participants learn some potentially lifesaving first aid skills. Finally, Sports Leaders also ran a clinic designed to help participants develop their leadership and teamwork skills.
On the third and final day, it was all about cricket, with the finals of the junior and senior competitions taking place. A team made up of players from the Luton and Leyton projects secured victory in the senior competition, winning in all four of their games. In the junior competition, a mixture of participants from Leyton, Luton and West Ham were victorious. There were also individual honours up for grabs, with Fardeen Shakeel (Birmingham) claiming best batsman, promising leg spinner Awais Latif (Leyton) being named best bowler. Frankie Edwards (Tower Hamlets) took home the Spirit of Cricket award while Amer Mihaed (Hartlepool) was named the Most Improved player of the week. Each of the winners was awarded a bat kindly donated by Gunn and Moore.
Lord’s Taverners CEO Paul Robin said “it’s fantastic to see so many kids here today, last year we had about 50 children whereas this year we’re just shy of 100. Wicketz is a programme that helps disadvantaged kids in their communities, using cricket as a vehicle for social change”.
Launched in 2012 and delivered by the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports charity, the Lord’s Taverners, Wicketz uses cricket as a tool for change. The programme is aimed at hard to reach young people within areas of high deprivation across the UK. Wicketz provides a sustainable cricket environment with a focus on social cohesion and developing crucial life skills such as respect, teamwork and self-confidence. For more information on the programme please click here.