All Stars Cricket comes to Suffolk

Victory Ground, Bury St Edmunds Cricket Club's home ground PICTURE: Roger Arbon
Victory Ground, Bury St Edmunds Cricket Club's home ground PICTURE: Roger Arbon
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Local cricket clubs have signed up to the England & Wales Cricket Board's first nationwide entry-level participation programme for the sport.

The ECB has launched the All Stars Cricket programme with the aim of getting 50,000 boys and girls excited by the game this year.

And a host of clubs in the area have signed up, including Bury St Edmunds, Long Melford and Sudbury.

A new generation of families will be introduced to the sport via the major grassroots initiative which starts later in May.

All Stars Cricket provides boys and girls from five to eight years old with eight weeks of non-stop fun.

The activity and game based programme is suitable for all skill levels, providing children with the foundations to begin a lifelong love of physical activity and cricket, while making

friends in a safe and enjoyable environment.

Parents can find the nearest participating club, as well as registering their kids to take part, on the website.

After signing-up, boys and girls will have a cricket ‘back-pack’ delivered to their door with a bat, ball and everything they need to try the game for the first time.

They will then start an eight-week programme at their local participating centre, with the emphasis placed firmly on learning how to play the game in a fun, safe and inclusive environment.

Children will also learn the social development skills that team sport brings.

Each session of the eight-week programme, developed with input from Andrew Strauss and the England performance team, will give children the basic skills they need to develop a lifelong love of cricket.

Andrew Blanchard, Suffolk Cricket said: “We have over 20 All Stars Cricket Centres across Suffolk.

"Never has the game come together in such a way.

"It’s very exciting to think that so many children will be outside this summer learning new skills and meeting new friends all through All Stars Cricket.”

Clubs involved include Bury St Edmunds, Bardwell, Mildenhall, Long Melford, Worlington, Chippenham, Battisford & District, Stowupland, Linton Village, Burrough Green, Sudbury, Chappel and Wakes Colne.

Former England captain and All Stars Cricket ambassador Michael Vaughan said: “I started playing cricket at my local club and have seen first-hand how important it is to introduce kids

to our sport in a fun way.

“As a parent, I’ve also seen how tough it can be to get kids interested in sport especially given the amount of activities competing for their time. Finding a way for cricket to appeal to kids

and to get them active is more important than ever.

“We are bringing cricket to the front door of kids and parents across England and Wales. I can’t wait to see the positive impact this will have on clubs and the wider game.”

England men’s and women’s stars Jonny Bairstow and Lauren Winfield and Ashes winning legend Michael Vaughan are backing the programme which was formally launched at London’s

ArcelorMittal Orbit in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.