Yorkshire Tea National Cricket Week Day 1 – Matt Prior plays Street

Former Ashes-winning England cricketer Matt Prior visited the Charles Dickens Activity Centre in Portsmouth on Monday 24 June to play ‘street’ cricket with local children.

The event was part of Yorkshire Tea National Cricket Week, organised by children’s charity Chance to Shine, with cricket-themed activities taking place in 1,500 schools and community projects across the country.

As the England Cricket Team battle it out in the ICC Cricket World Cup, Prior was giving batting and fielding tips to the next generation of cricket players and fans. He took part in a game of street cricket, an accessible and inclusive form of the game, before taking questions from the youngsters in a wide-ranging Q&A.

Speaking at the event, Prior said, “Today was amazing and I’ve absolutely loved coming to Portsmouth and being part of Yorkshire Tea National Cricket Week. I’ve seen lots of kids playing a sport they wouldn’t get to play if it wasn’t for Chance to Shine. I was really impressed by their enthusiasm and engagement, especially during the Q&A where we discussed my career, upbringing and also some of the challenges I’ve faced in my life.

“My advice to them was to try as many sports as possible and also to dream big, have big hopes and aspirations. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that it can’t happen as I’m living proof that it can.”

Chance to Shine runs the inner-city Street cricket initiative in Portsmouth and Havant and in other major cities across England. The charity works in partnership with Hampshire Cricket Board and Active Communities Network in the Portsmouth area to deliver free weekly street cricket sessions for children and young people aged eight to 24.

Chance to Shine Chief Executive Laura Cordingley who also attended the cricket session at Charles Dickens Community Centre said, “We’re working with partners Yorkshire Tea to inspire young people by giving them opportunities to play, learn and develop through cricket.

“Tonight’s Street session with Matt Prior in Portsmouth is a perfect example of the impact cricket can have on children.  I’ve heard a number of girls and boys asking their Chance to Shine coach where they can carry on playing cricket at local clubs. We’re very lucky to have such an inspirational ambassador in Matt and also really committed coaches from Hampshire Cricket Board and Active Communities Network. They are all helping to change young lives through cricket.”

Eight-year old Vincent had not played cricket before and described the session with Matt Prior as ‘mind-blowing’. “It was really exciting to have Matt Prior here tonight. It was such fun, I loved batting and will definitely be coming again!”

Abi, 15, agreed saying, “Tonight was awesome! I love sport so much and I have a cricket tournament on Wednesday so it was really helpful to get Matt’s advice. Cricket is great fun to do as a team and it really clears your head. It’s amazing to have an England player visit us – words can’t really describe it.”

Yorkshire Tea believes that grassroots cricket makes a proper difference and is proud to be inspiring thousands of children through Yorkshire Tea National Cricket Week. Running 24th – 28th June, National Cricket Week is a week of cricket-themed activities for schools and community groups across England and Wales. Find out more at www.chancetoshine.org/national-cricket-week

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