Sussex batsman Phil Salt has helped launch the county’s 2019 All Stars Cricket programme.
Salt went to Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School in Rottingdean, Brighton, joined by All Stars mascot Twinkle to introduce boys and girls from reception, year one and year two classes to the basics of cricket and tell them about this summer’s programme.
With the 1st Central Sussex Cricket Foundation Roadshow set up in the playground, the children were able to pick up a bat and ball – many for the first time - and try their hand at the kind of activities on offer at All Stars Cricket sessions.
All Stars Cricket is the England & Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) national entry-level participation programme aimed at providing girls and boys aged five to eight with a great first experience of the sport.
Last year in Sussex alone, more than 1,500 children took part in All Stars Cricket at 53 clubs across the county. Sixty-two clubs have signed up to host the programme in 2019, with more than 2,000 participants expected.
The visit to Our Lady of Lourdes is one of a number being delivered by Sussex Cricket Foundation at primary schools and community centres in March and April. More than 12,000 children will be given a flavour of All Stars Cricket and encouraged to sign up to their local centre ahead of the start of this year’s programme in May.
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Every child that registers will have a backpack containing an All Stars Cricket bat, ball, personalised t-shirt, cap and activity book sent to their door, so they have everything they need for their first session.
Anybody that is registered before the end of March will be in with the chance of becoming a ‘trophy mascot’ at this summer’s men’s ICC Cricket World Cup that is being held in England and Wales.
For details of your nearest centre and to register a child for All Stars Cricket, visit www.allstarscricket.co.uk.
Salt said: “This is a great initiative. Things are kept very simple with the kids allowed to just pick up a bat and ball and enjoy themselves.
“They’re buzzing and enjoyment is what it’s all about. It’s not about everyone having a perfect forward defensive, it’s about getting kids into cricket and making sure they have loads of fun doing it.
“It’s great to come and see the Sussex Cricket Foundation’s work at a visit like today, it puts things into perspective and reminds you why you love the game and why it’s so important to give as many kids as possible the chance to discover their own passion for cricket.”
Discussing the All Stars Cricket programme as a whole, Sussex Cricket Foundation’s All Stars Cricket lead, Ollie Smith said: “All Stars Cricket is a fantastic programme and has been a real success in Sussex. Its impact on participation at clubs can be seen even after just two years.
“However, we are looking to build on this early success and make 2019 our biggest and best year yet! We want the programme to inspire as many children and new families to get involved with cricket as it can.”
As Sussex Cricket’s charitable arm, Sussex Cricket Foundation’s aim is to actively change lives through cricket across the community. It uses the game and the Sussex Cricket brand to deliver accessible and enjoyable opportunities that grow the sport, tackle inequalities, improve health and wellbeing and enable people to fulfil their potential.