Seventy children from the cricket foundations of Lancashire and Yorkshire came together for a ‘Unity of the Roses’ event organised by Wicketz, a national community programme organised by the Lord's Taverners charity.
During the event held at Bradford’s Karmand Community Centre, the children – all aged between eight and 12 – played in a series of round-robin matches and spent time attending workshops which looked at how cricket, and the Wicketz programme in particular, has influenced them. This included helping to create a ‘statement tapestry’.
Fast bowler Ajmal Shahzad, who has played for both counties, visited the event to give his support, sharing some coaching tips and taking part in a question and answer session.
Howard Shore, Senior Project Activator for the Wicketz programme at Lancashire Cricket Foundation, said, "The young people that we took over had a fantastic day. They were made to feel very welcome by staff, volunteers and participants at the Karmand Centre and loved meeting Ajmal Shahzad.
"There was some excellent play in the matches and the statements that young people wrote during the workshops showed how much they value the Wicketz programme. We look forward to hosting the return event in Lancashire next year.”
Ben Fraser, who is the Wicketz Development Officer for the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, said: “The spirit of the event came together with a strong show of unity throughout. The event was made possible by eight young volunteers from the local Barkerend community which represented the ethos of ‘Unity of the Roses’ – to come together and make something possible for other people.
“Winning wasn’t the sole importance on the day; it was also about the enjoyment of playing and celebrating the reasons why participants keep coming back to Wicketz.”