Last week I attended a really interesting and fun event in London, with the England Cricket Board (ECB) and Mumsnet to be introduced to a brand new initiative for kids – All Stars Cricket.
All Stars Cricket is a brand new programme from the England and Wales Cricket Board aimed at providing children aged five to eight with a great first experience in cricket. The programme is delivered across England and Wales at over 1,500 fully accredited All Stars Cricket centres.
It’s a great way to develop a child’s skills over the eight-week programme, as well as giving them the opportunity to make new friends in a safe and friendly environment. Every child that takes part receives some cricket goodies – a cricket bat, ball, backpack, water bottle and a personalised t-shirt and cap!
The event was held at the amazing ArcelorMittal Orbit at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The Orbit is the UK’s tallest sculpture, and straight after I arrived, I got to ride the slide that is a part of the building, which I wasn’t expecting!
The slide is the world’s longest, fastest, and tallest tunnel slide – and flipping heck it was bloody fast! I may have sworn quite a bit as it dropped suddenly and swooped around bends! It was crazy but great fun. The views from the top of the Orbit were incredible – I got to see the sweeping panorama of the city as the sun set over London, and then once it was dark, the whole city lit up beautifully. It was incredible.
At the launch event we heard from the very lovely Michael Vaughan who introduced the event and All Stars Cricket as well as from the ECB, who explained how the programme works, and all of the great benefits for both the children and their families too.
Then there was a Q&A with two England cricketers – Lauren Winfield and Jonny Bairstow – and me! I was asked to be on the panel as a ‘mummy blogger’ to give my thoughts on the programme and why it’s so important to keep kids active. It was very surreal to be stood in the audience and have bloody Michael Vaughan talk about me and have everyone in the room turn to look at me! I’d been introduced to him before the event started and he was so friendly and made me feel a bit better about answering questions in front of an audience! That was until he told me he was planning to ask me what a mummy blogger is because he didn’t know!
I was super nervous but luckily I was given some Prosecco before I went up, and everyone was so super lovely, including the cricketers who made me feel so comfortable sat up there with them whilst there were tons of camera’s pointed at us!
It was so interesting to hear from Lauren and Johnny about why All Stars Cricket is so important to them, how they got into cricket and why it was so important for them to have the support of their families. They are clearly very passionate about the game and it was lovely hearing them both speak about it and how they would love to get more kids into cricket.
I’ve always loved going to cricket matches in the summer with friends or family, and enjoying a day in the sunshine with beer and good company at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground. I was also lucky enough to go to matches in Napier in New Zealand as well as Adelaide whilst I was travelling ten years ago, and to meet some of the players, and it was brilliant.
So it’s always been a part of my life, however getting my daughter into cricket wasn’t something that I had ever considered, but All Stars Cricket makes it so much more accessible to families who may not have thought about it before. It’s such a great idea to keep kids active and let them have loads of fun, whilst opening them up to a sport that they might not have much experience of.
I’ve always loved playing cricket too – both at school when I was young, and in casual games with friends in parks and gardens in the summer. But I’ve always been pretty shite at it, so I’m quite excited to see Ava take part in All Stars Cricket this summer and watch her learn and develop some new skills!
I also love that it will give her a way to make friends with other kids her age away from school, and hopefully build up her confidence after the troubles we’ve had at school. I think it could be really good for her, and I can’t wait for us to get involved. Most of the programmes around the country cost £40 (some are slightly more), which I think is pretty good value for all that you get over the 8 weeks.
The programme is suitable for all children that are new to cricket and sport as the sessions are designed to teach the basic skills of the game. The children will earn stars as the weeks progress that match the skills learned during the programme:
- Batting – hitting a moving ball
- Throwing – underarm and overarm
- Catching – small and large balls
- Bowling – overarm
- Running – lots of movement
- Teamwork – fun games with friends
- Communication – the basics of cricket
- Spirit of Cricket – how to respect others
The ECB really want to get loads more kids involved in the great sport, and I know they’d love to get as many children signed up as possible, so definitely check it out of you have little ones in that age range. You can find out more about the programme and find your nearest All Stars Cricket Centre here.
I’ve never met such a lovely group of people than were at the event – everyone is so passionate about the sport and the programme, and it was so inspiring to meet them all and hear their excitement about All Stars Cricket. They really care about encouraging more children to take up cricket as a sport and to hopefully become as passionate about the game as they are. It was really lovely to see and hear about, and made me feel very inspired.
Sensing today has been a great day for English cricket … The Olympic stadium to host a World Cup match announcement & #AllStars Launch ..
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) March 20, 2017
It’s made me want to go to more cricket matches this year, and I can’t wait to watch Ava learn to play, and maybe get a bit better myself!
I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid to attend the event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have received a voucher in return for writing this post.