Sportlight on: Cricket

Being active takes so many forms and means assorted things to different people. South Leeds is full of ways that all ages can move, have fun and find something that feels good for them. This month Get Set Leeds Local takes a deeper dive into cricket, and the ways that someone could get involved.

Cricket is a team sport played between two teams. It is a bat and ball game, with a batsman going in front of a bowler and the team of fielders to try to score runs. Different shortened versions of the game now exist such as T20. Spectators can enjoy watching Test Cricket such as the current Ashes between England and Australia, along with the sport being popular in countries such as India, South Africa and Pakistan. Many of us may know cricket from playing kwik cricket at school or even maybe a bit of beach cricket!

Cricket in South Leeds

Cricket had a rich history in South Leeds, and although chances are fewer than in the past, there are still opportunities for adults and children to enjoy the game in South Leeds. Hunslet Nelson Cricket Club is a family based cricket club based in Beeston, with its ground on Gipsy Lane. Over the summer they’ll be hosting All Stars Cricket which provides cricket for boys and girls aged 5–8 years old with 8 weeks of activities. Hunslet Nelson also runs junior teams at Under 9, 11, 13 and 15 with weekly training and matches. They also hold an annual Enjoy Cricket Week, the emphasis is on games and fun, which is being held this year on 14-16 August for boys and girls aged 6 to 15 years. They also have three adult teams playing league cricket. Contact for more information.

Chance to Shine Street Cricket

We caught up with Sohail from Yorkshire Cricket Foundation to find out more about their Street Cricket programme which currently takes place weekly at Old Coburn Sports Hall. Sohail shares how children aged 8–15 in South Leeds can get involved:

What is Chance to Shine Street cricket?

Chance to Shine brings cricket to young people who traditionally face barriers to getting active. It uses the sport to increase aspiration, promote social cohesion and create opportunities in diverse communities. There are 200 Chance to Shine Street projects across the country.

It’s a fast-paced version of the game played with a tapeball – a tennis ball wrapped in electrical tape – in small enclosed spaces. With six players per team and 20 balls per innings, it’s cricket’s answer to five-a-side football.

What are the benefits of Street Cricket?

It’s getting children out the house. Street cricket is helping to break down social barriers and integrate people into their local area. In a survey of 658 Street participants, 78% said “I have met people from different backgrounds” and 80% agreed “I have made new friends”.

What do you think is the power of street cricket?

We feel that every child, no matter where they live, should have the opportunity to play cricket. Chance to Shine Street is focussed in areas with a lack of accessible clubs and green spaces; it aims to make cricket accessible to young people throughout the country.

Street cricket offers a different way into the sport, with 74% of players not part of a traditional cricket club when they joined the sessions. Some – around 1 in 10 – do go on to play at a traditional cricket club or enter park-based T20 leagues but for most the Street project becomes their club.

How much are sessions and what do children wear?

Sessions are completely free, players don’t need to bring any equipment and can wear whatever they like.

Are there opportunities to compete?

If children want to. All participants involved in Chance to Shine Street projects have the opportunity to take part in local competitions against other nearby projects in the school holidays, with the possibility of progressing to regional and then national competitions each year. We hold Under-15 and Under-12 age-group mixed competitions as well as a girls only competition.

Children’s competition in Cross Flatts Park during the Cricket World Cup 2019

The chance to compete against others from across the country is something which they relish, and equally as important as testing themselves against the best in the country is the opportunity to make new friends and to visit new places.
How are you developing new leaders?

We’re incredibly proud of the fact that 34% of coaches that lead established Chance to Shine Street projects were previously participants or volunteers. Having coaches that come from similar backgrounds is incredibly inspiring for the young cricketers and 92% of participants said “I look up to my coach”, whilst 91% said “My coach inspires me to do my best”.

Who are the coaches for the Inner South?

“Hello everyone, I’m Khizar Hussain and I’m the lead coach at the Street Cricket sessions. I live locally and support the work of getting youngsters engaged into physical activity and sport through sessions and build positive habits so that they can be successful in whatever life path they choose to go on. The sessions are full of exciting cricket drills and games where we play short-sided games to test our skills in pressure situations. We have competitions which we work towards where we play, travel and compete against other local and national teams. The sessions are great fun so come down and give them a go!”

“My name is Hassan Hussain and I live in South Leeds. I loved playing cricket, football and rugby when I was younger and still play a bit now too. The Street Cricket sessions have been a big part of me growing up as I attended these when I was younger. As a coach, I have been running these sessions for 4 years now and I’m giving back to my community, coaching kids to become the best individuals they can be. In Beeston, a lot of the kids have many distractions and challenges, and these free cricket sessions give the children the right skills and confidence to combat the challenges they face in everyday life. They look forward to the sessions every week and have improved massively over the weeks.”

How can children get involved?

Our Street sessions are free, just turn up and play!

Venue: Old Cockburn Sports Hall, Primrose Lane (near Joseph Priestly College)

Days: Every Saturday

Time and Ages: Ages 8-11: 10am-11.30am; Ages 12-15: 11.30am-1pm


This post was written by Karen Peck

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