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ECB teams up with schools

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), in conjunction with Beckfoot Schools Sports Partnership and Philip Davies MP for Shipley, has masterminded a cricket initiative that will introduce the sport to more than 200 primary school children in the Yorkshire area.

On Friday March 9 2007, Saltaire First Primary School will host the ECB “Cricket Factory” and pupils from three surrounding primary schools (Glenaire, Wylcliffe and St. Walburga) to take part in a huge cricket programme. All pupils will have the opportunity to get involved in batting, bowling and fielding drills. The day, which is scheduled to start at 10am, will run right through to 3pm with all pupils having the opportunity to try their hand at all three disciplines.

England bowlers Matthew Hoggard and Katherine Brunt will also be on hand to offer advice, tips and encouragement to the pupils.

In addition, Bradford and Bingley Building Society, the Official Sponsor of Yorkshire County Cricket Club have also offered their support, by donating £500, which will be matched pound for pound by SportsMatch, and four Asda Kwik Cricket Sets for use on the day.

The idea, initiated by Philip Davies MP, is set to create a legacy whereby the schools will play cricket matches and tournaments against each other and more children will be introduced to the sport at a young age.

He said: “"I developed a love of sport at school and want to give the pupils at schools in Shipley the same opportunities to play and appreciate sport in the way I was able to do.

“I am incredibly grateful to the ECB for agreeing to organise this event, and hope I will be able to persuade them to run similar events in other schools in the constituency in the near future.

“I am also very grateful to Matthew and Katherine for taking time from their busy schedule to help promote cricket in our local schools. They are great role models and I hope this event inspires these pupils to be the next Matthew Hoggard and Katherine Brunt.”

Pete Ackerley, ECB Director of Development added: “We welcome this partnership between Saltaire Cricket Club and the local schools and we’re grateful to the sponsors who provide the funds and bring the commercial world ever closer to grass roots cricket.

“Building partnerships between schools and clubs is ultimately what we’re about. Anything that develops, benefits and enthuses involvement amongst young people is great for us and cricket overall. We’re delighted to be able to host these festivals to ensure cricket reaches as many children as possible. It’s another great opportunity that could help kids progress from their playground to a Test Arena.

“Yorkshire is already a very pro-active county in terms of cricket development and this festival is a great addition to what is already a very effective and involved programme.”

The initiative will further cement the work done for cricket across the region already by local partnerships. Saltaire Cricket Club, the local focus club, and Bradford and Bingley Cricket Club have been instrumental in making the schools partnership work and continue to work closely with Yorkshire Cricket Board to ensure cricket reaches as many youngsters as possible.