Chichester Community Development Trust (CCDT) and the Sussex Cricket Foundation have developed a programme of Street Cricket, funded by Chance to Shine, that enables 8-11 year old children in the Chichester district to enjoy top level coaching for free, every week at Swanfield Park Community Centre from 4-5pm.
The first session started last week (28th November) and proved an out and out success with all who took part, with attendance figures expected to double by week two! Seven tentative children from six different local schools arrived for the maiden session, nervous but excited. The Sussex Cricket Foundation team, led by Lara Johnson, broke down all nerves with some creative challenges to create unique activities or games with the use of just a cone and a tennis ball.
Warm-ups aside the children were then coached through batting and bowling skills to gain experience and bring each child on with their range of shots and bowling actions. This was followed up with a 30-minute match to put their newfound skills into practise with excellent results and a real sense of satisfaction.
“The enthusiasm of the children was utterly infectious and their creativity in play was astonishing,” said Lara. “One young cricketer’s knowledge of the game was encyclopaedic having followed it closely for years, however he did not have the opportunity to get out and play – his delight in being able to do so was incredible to witness. One of our other young players was heard to say, “I learnt that my little brother is a lot better than he thought he was”. Street cricket is a very informal way to access the beautiful game of cricket, improve children’s fitness but most of all create a sense of fun and achievement. We can’t wait to welcome even more children in subsequent weeks.”
Clare de Bathe, Trust director at CCDT said, “We are so thrilled with the success of this programme and know that it will be an amazing and much needed resource for the young people of Chichester. As we develop the forthcoming cricket pitch at Keepers Green we are determined to enable a whole range of community cricket activities including youth cricket; women and girls teams; walking cricket for the less mobile; and many others. This is the first and very exciting step to achieving that, and we are immensely grateful to the Sussex Cricket Foundation and Chance to Shine for helping to make it happen.”