Up to 1,500 school children from Birmingham and Warwickshire made Edgbaston Stadium their classroom for the day as they gathered at the ground to cheer on Central Sparks.
Pupils from 47 primary and secondary schools were invited to the stadium as an early half-term treat and to see some of the country’s best women cricketers in action.
England stars Issy Wong and Amy Jones were in the Sparks’ line-up who took on Northern Diamonds in the Charlotte Edwards Cup T20 competition.
It’s the biggest school ticket giveaway in the Club’s history and part of Edgbaston’s drive to further raise the profile of women’s cricket, inspire future generations of crickets, and to promote physical and mental health through sport.
Warwickshire Cricket Board’s Schools Cricket Development Manager, Chris Kenny, said: “The children were in good voice cheering on the Sparks, the stand was bouncing at one stage, and they clearly enjoy the day. Hopefully we’ll welcome them back soon to support the Sparks and the Bears.
“We’ve worked hard in the last few years promoting women’s cricket in schools and recreational clubs and it’s great to see interest increasing all the time.
“Last year’s Commonwealth Games galvanised interest in women’s cricket and we’re set to welcome a record crowd to the Women’s Ashes at Edgbaston on 1 July. Exciting times.”
Sparks narrowly lost the contest by three runs but it didn’t take away from the atmosphere – and Sparks’ players thanked the youngsters for their support by signing autographs and posing for photos after the game.
Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, Head Teacher at Anderton Primary, said: “Most of our Year 6’s were here; they’ve just finished their SATs so this was a well-deserved fun day out.
“We’re lucky to have such a world-famous sports ground on our doorstep – we walked here for the game – and it’s a lovely touch the Club welcomed the children in free of charge.
“Some of our pupils play cricket but for others this may well be the first time they’ve watched a game. It was really exciting and hopefully it may be the catalyst for them to play more sport and stay fit and active.”
Over 75% sold for Women’s Ashes IT20
For the first time, Edgbaston will host a Women’s Ashes IT20 as the oldest rivalry in cricket returns to Birmingham – and over 15,500 tickets have already been sold!
Watch local stars including Amy Jones and Issy Wong in action as we make history on Saturday 1 July, 6.30pm start. Tickets are available from only £17 for adults and under 16s £5.