Cricket proves its mettle in Port Talbot

Lisa Jones, Year 2 Teacher, Eastern Primary School, Port Talbot, Wales writes:

“In our blank concrete playground, we have cultivated the initial love of a sport which brings out the best in people, promotes well-being and  a ‘can do’ attitude.

“Our story only goes to prove that large fields and beautiful grounds doesn’t grant you the right to play cricket. Being rich doesn’t grant you the right to play cricket. You can play cricket anywhere,  at any age and with anyone.

“Eastern Primary school is quietly enveloped by an industrial town. Smoke billows from the steel works, a grey stretch of motorway casts a looming shadow with a continuous whine of passing traffic and tall, scrub covered mountains stand in the background.

“It isn’t where you expect to find some of the most engaged and enthusiastic young cricketers but the spirit of Chance to Shine has found a welcoming home right in the heart of this  little community.

“[Chance to Shine and Cricket Wales Coach] Sean Evans has a long history with us at Eastern Primary School. For a number of years he has worked with older pupils, coaching and cultivating a love of his sport.

“This year has been slightly different. When discussing coaching timetables Sean talked to us about Chance to Shine and again, Eastern jumped at the chance to become involved. “Let’s start them young!” became our mantra and we decided to start with Year 2 pupils.

 

 

“With over 40% of pupils receiving free school meals and just under that amount on the special needs register Sean would have his work cut out. As ever, Sean was up to the challenge! Balls bouncing, bats flying and whistle blowing we got through the first session in one piece, every single child with a smile on their face. With stickers, bands and leaflets to take home, all the children bounced out of school talking about cricket.

“And then it started: the questions and interest. Pupils wanted more. They wanted books about cricket, they wanted to research and write about cricket and, more importantly, they wanted to play cricket. Success! They had started to get hooked. The confidence that our children gained was vital. They believed that they could be that sportsmen and women on the telly.”

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