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Roses rivals unite through Wicketz

There was a Roses match up with a difference in Bradford this week where participants from Wicketz hubs in Bradford and Manchester, delivered by the Yorkshire and Lancashire Cricket Foundations, came together through cricket at the Karmand Community Centre for a day of competition and life skills workshops.

In the first ‘Unity of the Roses Festival’, over 70 children aged 8-12 from both sides of the Pennines united to celebrate all that is good about playing cricket together.

A series of fixtures brought excitement throughout the afternoon while children also took time out from the competition to explore how Wicketz has changed their lives.

Wicketz Project Manager Dan Wilson said: “One thing we try to incorporate across Wicketz is using cricket as a way of joining young people from different communities, and the Unity of the Roses Festival is a great way to do this. Sport removes barriers and allows young people who would never usually integrate to work towards a shared goal.”

The participants from both roses counties were very lucky to enjoy a special guest appearance from former England fast bowler, Ajmal Shahzad. Shahzad, who was brought up in Bradford, knows just how much a programme like Wicketz can do for the area, and he was thrilled to see youngsters enjoying the first ‘Unity of the Roses’ event. He believes projects like this are vital for those living in deprived areas.

Shahzad explained: "Bradford is a very difficult environment for a child to be brought up in because they can easily get lost to the streets. We need programmes and facilities like this for kids, and if they can enjoy the game and learn a bit about its history that's great.”

All 70 participants that took part in the day were very excited to meet Ajmal, while also learning a few skills that will see them working on their fast bowling in the winter months!

This was the first Unity of the Roses Festival and a return fixture is very much on the cards for 2019.

Watch highlights of the day below
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