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CricketForce leads the way

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CricketForce South Wilts CC

South Wilts CC get into the spirit of NatWest CricketForce

The ECB have been awarded the best schools grassroots scheme at the annual Sportsmatch awards held at Lord's cricket ground on November 9.

The award, presented by Rt. Hon. Richard Caborn, was won on the back of NatWest CricketForce, the biggest volunteering community club cricket programme in England and Wales, which supported a major renovation and refurbishment programme by local cricket clubs across the country.

NatWest CricketForce 2005 was the vehicle for establishing a FUNdamentals program to 50 community cricket clubs and setting up 50 new junior sections of cricket clubs across the country with sessions being attended regularly by 2,000 children and being sustained in 2006.

NatWest CricketForce South Loughton

South Loughton juniors help out with NatWest CricketForce

Six to nine year-olds were targeted as part of a long-term development plan providing structured coaching to boys and girls. 200 primary schools were linked to 50 focus clubs while 6,000 children were being coached within the schools curriculum.

This programme has been the catalyst for a major recruitment drive introducing hundreds of budding young cricketers and their families into the game.

David Leighton, ECB club programmes manager is delighted with the award: "We are absolutely ecstatic to have won this prestigious award from Sportsmatch. Without the support of our sponsors, NatWest, we would not have been able to run this development and coaching programme, which has had such a positive impact on thousands of children across the country."

NatWest CricketForce 2006

Pete Ackerley, ECB head of development, added: "We're delighted to have received this award. It demonstrates our ongoing commitment to grassroots cricket and reinforces our partnership with NatWest and Sportsmatch, without whom this award would not have been possible.

"This award also acknowledges the dedication and commitment of volunteers in clubs and their local community and we are extremely grateful to all those for their continued support."