Inner-city youngsters enjoy Wicketz festival at Felsted School
Nearly 50 young people from the West Ham and Tottenham Lord’s Taverners Wicketz clubs played in a three-day cricket festival at Felsted School, Essex, from 5 to 7 August. For many of these youngsters, this was the first time they had been away from home or even left London.
Since 2012, the Wicketz programme has launched six new community cricket clubs in income-deprived communities of London, with nearly 2,000 disadvantaged young people (30% girls) accessing cricket through the initiative.
The 48 young people, aged between 8 and 15, attended coaching clinics and played matches in mixed teams throughout the three days, culminating in a 20-over final on 7 August. Sagar Joshi (15) from West Ham captained the winning side and received the best batsman award for his performance with the bat.
Other awards went to 14-year-old Rohan Patel (best bowler) and 10-year-old Lemar Harmann (most improved player) while Oscar Fernandes McDonald (11) won the ‘Spirit of Cricket Award’, which recognises an outstanding contribution during the festival.
On receiving his award, Oscar said: “It’s amazing to come to a place like this and just play some cricket with my friends! I have really enjoyed the festival and I’m so happy to have received this award, it really means a lot.”
The Lord’s Taverners Wicketz programme is backed by some fantastic partners who help to create a sustainable and supportive sporting environment, including Ford Motor Company and Smile Group Travel. The Hugo Halkes Trust supplied kit for the festival and supported the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ award, while cricket kit manufacturer Gunn & Moore provided prizes for the best bowler and batsman.
Ebony Rainford-Brent, cricket programmes manager at the Lord’s Taverners and former England women’s cricketer, commented: “For a lot of these children, playing cricket in the inner city is so difficult because they have limited equipment, restricted access to venues and have trouble paying all the other expenses that go with playing sport.
“The Wicketz programme enables children to play sport and importantly, it provides the infrastructure required to give them a balanced supportive sporting environment.”