This week an MCC-Chance to Shine team of coaches travelled to North London hoping to bring the Spirit of Cricket to Tottenham as the first of four London one day summer cricket camps. Charlotte Edwards (England Women’s Captain) and team mate Danielle Hazell were joined by local coaches to introduce cricket to local children in an action packed day filled with skills sessions and a mini World Cup tournament.
The energy and level of enthusiasm impressed MCC coach Andy Fairbairn who organised the camp. He said “This is what MCC Chance to Shine and Spirit of Cricket is all about, we want to reach new children and give them an opportunity to play cricket”. This feeling was matched by Cricket for Change coach Donovan Miller who was present at the camp.
Cricket for Change is a partner of Chance to Shine and MCC Spirit of Cricket and aims to make a real difference to the lives of local children. Miller explained that he works with disabled children, in prisons and on the streets in the hope of giving these children a second chance enabling them to volunteer as or become a coach on their schemes or even tour to countries such as Sri Lanka and Pakistan to spread the play hard, play fair, have fun message of the Spirit of Cricket.
At lunch, where Satsumas and apples were thrown in place of balls and bottles were used as bats, it was clear these children had caught the cricket bug and talk was of the mini World Cup in the afternoon. The group was split into four teams who played in a round robin tournament with a player of each match being awarded a MCC Spirit of Cricket soft ball.
Mark Butcher, the Former Surrey and England batsman and honorary life member at MCC, arrived in the afternoon session to help umpire, score and coach during the tournament. He was also interrogated by the children in a short question and answer session where he talked about his longest innings of ten and a half hours and how his father introduced him to cricket. His love of the game was clear and his passion certainly rubbed off as the last game of the day was played with eagerness, with great catches being taken and sixes being hit over the MCC Spirit of Cricket banners.
The day ended with the children receiving MCC Spirit of Cricket goody bags to take home and remind them of their day. But it was the skills they have learned and the people they have met which will hopefully stick with them for longer. The excitement and dedication from the coaches was certainly apparent; hopefully these children will continue to play cricket long after the MCC and Change to Shine flags have been taken down.