National cricket day on June 23

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Matt Prior

England wicketkeeper Matt Prior helps at Johanna Primary School in a cricket-themed maths class on national cricket day last year

Schoolchildren across England and Wales will unite for a day of cricket on June 23. Nearly 4,000 schools have registered for Brit Insurance national cricket day, part of the Chance to Shine campaign, and are planning cricket-themed lessons in class, coaching in the playground and competitions at local cricket clubs.

Chance to Shine is the biggest grass-roots sport for development programmes undertaken in Britain. The scheme, run by the Cricket Foundation charity, helps link cricket clubs to local state schools and aims, initially, to reach two million children in a third of state schools by 2015.

National cricket day will see beach tournaments held in Brighton and Cornwall and tape-ball cricket competitions in London housing estates; while schools as far afield as Afghanistan, Australia and Japan are joining in the celebration of cricket.

Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King is president and co-founder of Chance to Shine, which helped launch the campaign in 2005.

He said: "June 23rd will be the biggest festival of cricket ever held in Great Britain. It's a day on which we hope that the qualities engendered by cricket can extend beyond the cricket pitch and into the classroom."

King himself will be part of a ‘dream cricket school’ in London and will assist in a cricketing maths lesson, while a member of the England team takes a P.E. class. Minister of Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson will speak at a cricket-themed school assembly and other celebrity cricket fans will cover cross-curricular cricket classes at Johanna Primary School, near Waterloo.

The charity behind Chance to Shine has devised special cricket-themed lessons to give the curriculum a cricketing twist. For example, children will learn the difference between acute and obtuse angles in maths through a range of cricket shots, or identify the cricket playing counties in geography. The charity’s web-based resource, ‘CricEd’ (www.criced.org), covers citizenship, humanities, literacy and numeracy.

Mervyn King

Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King, who is also president and co-founder of Chance to Shine, said: "June 23rd will be the biggest festival of cricket ever held in Great Britain."

There will be a series of flagship events at schools nationwide, from Cardiff to Durham, where high profile cricket ambassadors will be going back to school for the day.

Abroad, the Afghan Connection charity will help give the day an international feel by organising a girls' cricket camp in Mazar-i-sharif, north Afghanistan, on 23 June while Willmott Park Primary School in Victoria, south Australia, is also getting involved with indoor cricket and classroom activity despite it being the football season Down Under.

Over in Japan, the Japan Cricket Association will be working with young groups of children on cricket skills in Sano, the home of cricket in Japan. The JCA runs an initiative called ‘Cricket for Smiles’ which, like Chance to Shine, encourages more youngsters to play cricket. One of their aims is to go into areas of Japan worst affected by the March earthquake and deliver cricket equipment and resources to those who have lost everything.

Back home, Chance to Shine will once again receive support from the ECB, Marylebone Cricket Club and the Professional Cricketers’ Association, as the cricket community gets behind the day. Chance to Shine is also backed by England captain Andrew Strauss, who spoke passionately about the charity and the educational benefits of cricket:

“There’s so much about cricket that prepares you for life: working in a team, communicating with other people, getting out and being active and learning how to win and how to lose," he said.

“So many kids these days don’t have the opportunity to play cricket in their schools. Chance to Shine has enabled over a million children to play who wouldn’t have otherwise played in the last six years. Ultimately, that’s where the next generation of England cricketers is going to come from.”

Wasim Khan, chief executive of the Cricket Foundation, added: “Across Britain, cricket will unite children and teachers, clubs and schools on 23 June. Brit Insurance national cricket day is a great opportunity for us to celebrate the achievements of Chance to Shine, which has had an impact on so many young lives over the past six years.”

Further details of can be found at www.ncd.chancetoshine.org