Captains teach Notts kids ‘respect’ through cricket

England Women’s captain Charlotte Edwards and Nottinghamshire skipper Chris Read both went back to school on Wednesday 18 April to teach pupils at Dovecote Primary School in Clifton the importance of good sportsmanship.

The captains took part in an ‘MCC Spirit of Cricket’ assembly as part of the Marylebone Cricket Club’s scheme to teach children in Chance to Shine schools the message: ‘play hard, but fair. Charlotte led the interactive assembly with around 100 pupils and discussed the importance of respecting team mates, the opposition and match officials.

After watching the new MCC Spirit of Cricket DVD special cricket compilation with a Jessie J backing track the assembly hall was split into England and Australian teams and several pupils took part in a ‘bowl off’. The children immediately put what they had just learned into practice, shaking hands after a 3-0 England victory.

Speaking after the assembly Charlotte said, “The kids were brilliant. It was great to see them finish the game and, without any prompting, go and shake each others’ hands. Cricket does lead the way in fair play. We’ve got some really good role models within the game which help that.

“For me, working for Chance to Shine as a Coaching Ambassador has been one of the highlights of my career. I get just as much pleasure out of this as I do playing for England. I understand the importance of having role models at an early age.”

After the assembly, Year 5 and Year 6 pupils went to the sports hall for a cricket coaching session with Chris and Charlotte. They practised a range of drills aimed at improving batting skills, increasing fitness and making cricket fun.

Speaking after the coaching session, Chris Read said, “I think it helps children to learn these lessons on good sportsmanship at an early age. In cricket we all need to respect the umpire, the opposition and each other, but it goes much deeper than that and sport can help promote that message far and wide in all walks of life.”

The Notts captain also praised the Chance to Shine campaign, delivered through the Nottinghamshire County Board, that aims to bring cricket and its educational opportunities to two million children in state schools.

“These children just wouldn’t have the opportunities to play cricket if something like Chance to Shine didn’t exist. Many of these children wouldn’t walk down to their local cricket club nor have parents that would take them down there; so the fact that they’re getting the opportunity in school time is essential for the development of the game.”

Year 5 pupil Megan, 10, said “It’s been good to learn about fair play today. It upsets me a little bit when people play unfairly or act selfishly, but I just try and ignore it. It was really exciting to meet the players – what an opportunity! I’m a sporty person and I like everything about cricket. It’s good that girls play cricket as well as boys.”

Her classmate Bailey, 9, added, “If you lose you still have to show respect for the winning team. I play cricket every Wednesday at school and at home most days. I think Chance to Shine helps girls because normally we would be doing gymnastics and it’s good to try a new sport.”

In 2012, around 400,000 children in 4,000 ‘Chance to Shine’ schools will be introduced to the key MCC Spirit of Cricket messages enshrined in the Laws of the game, as a result of the MCC/Chance to Shine partnership. There are three core elements to the partnership: communicating the MCC Spirit of Cricket message to children within schools through the special assemblies, organising intra school competitions and MCC Spirit of Cricket Summer Camps.

Dovecote Primary’s Year 6 teacher, Dan Rogers, helps run cricket at the school along with his colleague Aidan Norris. Summing up the players’ visit, Mr Rogers said, “Today’s been absolutely fantastic. The opportunity the children have got to see such role models as Chris Read and Charlotte Edwards has been absolutely inspirational. These kids love playing cricket, whatever the weather. The children have said it’s been an amazing experience and they are so, so lucky to have this. It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have that level of coaching.

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