Derbyshire’s Mal Loye and Dominic Cork were on hand to support the Cricket World Cup family day at Leigh Cricket Club.
As part of a star-studded group of former and current players, Head of Development, Loye, and Twenty20 Head Coach, Cork, took part in various activities during the event, which ran from Friday to Sunday and saw 2,500 clubs across the country involved in the ICC and ECB joint venture.
Loye and fellow ex-England international Phil Mustard helped with the umpiring of a local Under-Nines competition involving 16 clubs, while Lancashire women’s age-group duo Daisy Mullan and Kasey Bentham appeared for the Leigh XI.
Cork, along with other players, mingled with fans in an afternoon to showcase the grassroots links the World Cup can help forge this summer, before a crowd of 1,500 that included families and young fans from around the area watched Leigh face PCA’s Masters XI – a team filled with former England stars including Loye, 2005 Ashes winner Matthew Hoggard and two-time World Cup finalist in Phil DeFreitas.
Leigh Cricket Club has a rich history of helping to develop some of county cricket’s current and former stars, including current Derbyshire all-rounder Luis Reece, and have even fielded 1992 Pakistan World Cup winner Iqbal Sikander as a professional. They were one of 350 clubs who entered a competition to host the PCA’s Masters XI.
While the weather curtailed the match, the unique opportunity for the club to engage with its local community was encouragingly apparent.
“It’s really about throwing the doors open to the local community to get them in and showcase grassroots cricket,” said Katy Ritchie, the ECB’s Head of National Programmes.
“It’s great when you have a Cricket World Cup happening because it shines a spotlight on the sport and allows us to talk more about some of the great things which are happening and getting more people playing the game.
“Kids are a massive focus in terms of us inspiring generations.
“Over the course of the summer, we’re trying to get one million kids engaged through the World Cup, and we’re pretty much nearly there.
“We’re doing that through the schools programmes, days like this, through club programmes and then through All Stars Cricket, which engages five to eight-year-olds. Everything we normally do is just blown up because of the World Cup.”
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