Warwickshire Cricket Board (WCB) in partnership with the Chance to Shine Street Cricket programme, has launched a new, free, indoor league for youngsters, aged 16 to 18-year-old, at the Edgbaston Cricket Centre in evenings throughout the period of Ramadan.

Taking place between 10pm and midnight every Tuesday and Friday evening, the young cricketers have joined from existing WCB Chance to Shine Street cricket projects in Aston, Nechells, Saltley and Sparkhill and are taking part in six-a-side games, played with a taped tennis ball.

The project was developed by WCB Community Cricket Development Manager Eaton Gordon and is being seen as a pilot for what could expand to an adult tournament and extended beyond Edgbaston next year.

Chance to Shine Street Cricket is a fast, fun format of the game that is bringing cricket to some of the most disadvantaged areas of the country where there is a lack of traditional cricket clubs. In line with government Covid guidance, projects are restarting across the country in urban communities.

“It’s fantastic to bring together so many young cricketers to enjoy competitive cricket at the Edgbaston Cricket Centre during such an important time in the Muslim calendar,” said Eaton Gordon.

“The bi-weekly sessions get underway shortly after Iftar, when they have finished fasting, and we provide pre-booked taxis to ensure safe transportation to and from the venue. Having access to an indoor space, in the Edgbaston Cricket Centre, late at night ensures that we can provide the safest possible experience and environment.

“Whilst the current Government guidelines have restricted the age groups that we can work with, we see the potential to grow this programme year-on-year and to replicate similar cricketing opportunities that cricket fans experience during Ramadan in many parts of the world.”

“Understanding how we can help the communities we serve in Birmingham and further afield is crucial.  Providing late-night space to play cricket and also the means to get to and from Edgbaston safely during Ramadan gives youngsters a new way to use their time.  Hopefully, once Covid restrictions are lifted we can extend this to an adult league as well.    

Stuart Cain

“We are making progress, and initiatives such as Chance to Shine Street Cricket and the African Caribbean Engagement (ACE) Programme are helping us break down barriers across the city’s diverse communities. However, we are acutely aware that there is a lot of work still to be done and we are continuing to invest more in our community programmes each year.”

Emma Palmer, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Chance to Shine said “It is vital that we are proactive to make the game accessible for all. This is a shining example of how we can adapt our programmes to be inclusive of those from diverse communities to play cricket. By thinking a little bit differently, we’re able to adjust how we deliver the game to meet the needs of our Street cricketers. We’re delighted to be working with the fantastic team at WCB to make this possible and to support those who are observing Ramadan during this month.”

For more information regarding Chance to Shine Street Ramadan League, please contact Eaton Gordon on eatongordon@edgbaston.com.