Gates thrown open for Sussex school kids

School children flood the outfield at The 1st Central County Ground (Photo: Sussex Cricket)
School children flood the outfield at The 1st Central County Ground (Photo: Sussex Cricket)

Sussex Cricket welcomed more than 600 primary and secondary school pupils to The 1st Central County Ground over the course of two recent Sussex Sharks one-day matches.

Groups from 19 schools across the county attended the Royal London One-Day Cup fixtures against Kent Spitfires on Friday 17th May and Middlesex on Friday 25th May.

This is the third year of the Sussex Cricket Foundation schools days which provide 5 to 16-year-olds the opportunity to attend a professional cricket match free of charge.

The aim is to inspire the next generation of cricketers in Sussex and to develop a passion for cricket amongst young people in the county whether through participating or spectating.

A range of activities were available on the days, including batting, bowling and fielding simulators, visits to the Sussex Cricket Museum and the opportunity to play cricket on the pitch during intervals.

One hundred and ninety of the children who attended the two matches purchased a Sussex Cricket Youth or Junior Membership, giving them access to all of Sussex CCC and Sussex Sharks’ remaining home Specsavers County Championship and Royal London One-Day Cup fixtures. Both Membership categories are available for just one pound.

Reflecting on the two schools days, Sussex Cricket’s Youth Participation Manager Gary Wallis-Tayler said: ““It has been great to see so many schools support this fantastic initiative which provides children with the opportunity to experience a live sporting event. The opportunity for children to watch and play on the same ground as our professional players can only inspire and hopefully develop a passion for cricket in the future”

Tony Whittington who led a group from Blatchington Mill High School in Hove that included a number of pupils completing Sussex Cricket’s Young Leaders in Cricket Award said: “It was a great experience for all of our students to come and visit Sussex Cricket and we thank them for their excellent hospitality. It was also a fantastic experience for our sports leaders to assist Sussex Cricket Foundation coaches with the activities that took place around the ground.”

Paul Showell from Southwater Junior Academy added: “We brought 54 children along to the Sussex Schools Day and every one of them enjoyed a fantastic day! We had so many positive comments from pupils and parents alike, some of which have never experienced a live sporting event before. Among our 54 pupils attending, we had several regular watchers and players of cricket, and also lots watching for the very first time We loved having the opportunity to play on the outfield in between innings’ and loved using the various simulators!”

The schools in attendance over the two days were Blatchington Mill High School in Hove, Durrington High, Forest School in Horsham, Sackville School in East Grinstead, Oriel High School in Crawley, Hazelwick School in Sussex, St Wilfrid’s in Crawley, St Paul’s Catholic College in Burgess Hill, Battle Abbey School, Durrington Junior School, Goldstone Primary in Hove, Gossops Green Primary in Crawley, St Margaret’s in Brighton, Worthing High School, St Pauls Primary, St Mary’s Primary in Brighton, Carden Primary in Brighton, Southwater Junior Academy and Westdene Primary in Brighton.

Sussex Cricket will be hosting further schools visits during the Specsavers County Championship match against Durham at Arundel Castle Cricket Club on Wednesday 20th, Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd June. More details are available by contacting gary.wallis-tayler@sussexcricket.co.uk.

Youth and Junior Memberships are available for one pound via the Sussex Cricket website or by calling 0844 264 0206.

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