On Sunday 9th June, Leigh Cricket Club took on the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) England Masters team in an exhibition match after winning an ECB competition to play against ex-England stars, including Matthew Hoggard and Dominic Cork. The event, hosted by Leigh CC, was part of the Cricket World Cup Family Days, a nationwide initiative to engage local communities with their cricket clubs.
Leigh CC was one of over 2,500 clubs to take part in the Family Days and to host events including live music, BBQs, World Cup screenings, matches and coaching sessions. To further connect with the local community and engage youngsters, some clubs, like Cardiff Cricket Club, also held special All Stars Cricket sessions.
The initiative is part of ECB’s goal to engage one million kids in cricket this summer with the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup taking place in England & Wales for the first time in 20 years. The ICC and ECB asked for clubs to get involved “to be part of something bigger."
Katy Ritchie, ECB Head of National Programmes said:
“This weekend has been a huge success and we are thrilled so many clubs and families have got involved to become part of something bigger.
“This is a huge summer of cricket, with England teams set to excite a nation and inspire a new generation to fall in love with the sport. It is fantastic we can expand our existing programmes like All Stars Cricket across the nation and inspire the next generation of kids – both girls and boys – to pick up a bat and ball.”
The match at Leigh CC was the first of ten fixtures for the PCA England Masters this summer.
Matthew Hoggard, ex-England cricketer said:
“It was great to see so many families from the community come and support their local club. It was a terrific day with all the money raised for the club.
“I’ve seen first-hand the hugely important role cricket clubs play in the community through taking part in the PCA England Masters. This weekend was a chance to showcase the great work of these clubs and their incredible volunteers.”
All the revenue made from the Family Day at Leigh CC will go back into the club to help improve the facilities and coaching and to continue to grow the game.
Additionally, over 2,000 of the clubs that were involved in Family Days across England and Wales have had access to a £1,000 grant from the ECB to improve digitalisation or the catering offer within their club.
David Leatherdale, PCA Chief Executive said:
“The PCA England Masters have raised over £600,000 for grassroots clubs and local schools over the past three years and 2019 has had a great start thanks to the Cricket World Cup Family Day at Leigh CC.
“The programme is part of the PCA’s commitment to support the foundation of the game. Every fixture sees clubs host the showpiece event of their summer to bring communities together and raise substantial funds while providing opportunities for former England players to remain in cricket which is a real benefit to our members.”