Warwickshire and former England star Jonathan Trott inspired schoolchildren in the Kings Heath area of Birmingham on Friday (24 June).
Trott was supporting the final day of Yorkshire Tea National Cricket Week, a celebration of cricket in schools and communities organised by cricket charity Chance to Shine.
Bishop Challoner RC School hosted the flagship event and invited pupils from two local feeder schools, St Dunstan’s and St Martin de Porres, to join them for a special cricket coaching session with their local hero and coaches from Warwickshire Cricket Board.
The children learned batting, bowling and fielding skills before taking part in a match. After the game, the boys and girls took part in a Q&A with Trott; including questions about his first memory of playing cricket (‘at my dad’s cricket club, breaking a window and hiding!’), what age he started to play cricket (‘since the day I could walk’) and what is his favourite sandwich (‘steak’)!
Speaking at the event, Trott said, “Chance to Shine is doing fantastically well at developing kids’ appetite for cricket, which may unearth some future club and international stars in future.
“I saw school as a way of playing sport. I was very fortunate that my school gave me the opportunity to do that, but it’s important that all kids get the chance to come outside in the sun, like today, and develop themselves. It’s great to see Chance to Shine giving kids that opportunity. I haven’t seen frowns on their faces, just smiles!”
The event also saw Jonathan donate several of the new plastic cricket bats to the schoolchildren in attendance, which has been funded in partnership with Birmingham City Council and Selco Builders Warehouse to encourage wider participation across the county.
One lucky pupil said, “It was very good as I got taught by a professional player and he showed me how to do the drive shot and I did it perfectly after!”
General Manager of Warwickshire Cricket Board, Ed McCabe, concluded, “We’ve got two local primary schools and children from Bishop Challoner who’ve chosen to come in on their day off, so it’s really nice to see kids wanting to play cricket and they’ve had a really fun morning. It’s something they’ll always remember and will improve their love of cricket.”
Chance to Shine is spreading the ‘power of cricket’ to state schools and communities in England and Wales. The charity has inspired three million children to take up the game over the past 11 years, nearly half of whom are girls. This summer, donations from the public to Chance Shine will be personally matched pound for pound by one of the charity’s Patrons Adrian Beecroft. Donations can be made at www.chancetoshine.org/donate