Life’s a beach for England stars and local kids on Brit National Cricket Day

Local Brighton school children were joined on the beachfront by England and Sussex star Matt Prior along with England Women’s cricketer Lydia Greenway on Tuesday (18th June) as part of Chance to Shine’s Brit National Cricket Day celebrations.

Boys and girls from Carlton Hill, Patcham and Hertford Primary school battled it out in a unique beach cricket tournament on sand pitches at Yellowave Beach Sports Venue. Matt and Lydia were on hand throughout the day to give out some expert tips. Hertford Primary School emerged victorious from the day and were presented with their medals and trophy by Lydia.

Speaking about the day Lydia said, “It’s such a novelty for children to come down and have a go at beach cricket and it’s great to see them enjoying themselves so much and throwing themselves around in the sand when they’re fielding.

Matt commented, “It’s important that myself and the other England boys show our support to charities like Chance to Shine. Having been brought up in Brighton, I love this place so to come down and give back to the local schools is great for me. Seeing the enjoyment on these kids faces, when they would otherwise be in a classroom but instead they’re here on the beach diving and jumping around, it’s brilliant.

Tilly Hornsbury and Sophie Smith from Hertford Primary School, who have just recently joined St Peters Cricket Club as a result of Chance to Shine, said, “It’s really fun to play cricket on sand. I should be in French right now but this is so much better!”

Their teammate Flinton Commented, “It was an amazing experience to meet Matt Prior and have my picture taken with him, I’ll remember it for a long time!”

Daniel Westcott, one of Sussex’s Chance to Shine community coaches, said, “It’s a great experience for these children to get the day off school to come here and play beach cricket, you don’t get the chance to do that every day. Without Chance to Shine these kids wouldn’t know how to play cricket so it’s pretty special.

The Brighton event was one of six flagship media events taking place across the country to celebrate Chance to Shine’s national celebration of cricket in schools. This year the event was Australian themed to celebrate an Ashes year. Hundreds of schools got involved in Brit National Cricket Day, through their local County Board, and were taking part in cricket-themed lessons in class, coaching in the playground, competitions at local cricket clubs and beach cricket festivals.

A variety of international and county players also lent their support to the day. England stars Kevin Pietersen and Charlotte Edwards along with Mark Nicholas visited a school in South London that turned the school into a mini-Australia for the day. Other cricketers including Phil Mustard, Danielle Hazell, Jim Troughton, and Jenny Gunn helped school children up and down the country enjoy the day.

Chance to Shine is keeping cricket alive in state schools. It is the biggest grass-roots sport development programmes ever undertaken in Britain. It was launched in 2005 by Governor of the Bank of England Sir Mervyn King to reverse the decline of cricket in state schools and has now brought cricket to two million schoolchildren.


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