I have always loved sport. Growing up, I played netball for my schools and for the county as well as representing the school in hockey and javelin.
Plus, growing up with three older brothers in the 80s meant that watching Grandstand and Match of The Day were pretty much compulsory. We would watch every football, rugby and tennis match that was on TV, as well as be big fans of athletics and Formula 1.
While I don’t play a lot of sport now, I hoped that once I had kids I’d be able to encourage their interest in sports, and not just watch it on TV.
My oldest is now five and he’s had a great introduction to physical activity. His nursery did a lot of football practice and touch rugby style sessions, which he loved. Now he’s in primary school, there is a huge emphasis on physical activity. He’s doing a lot of running and has recently tried out cricket, which he loves. Now, I’ve never personally played cricket, but I have watched a lot of it, so I do know my Cricket super over from my golden duck.
Now, we moved to Durham just before Alex was born and this is a county with a huge cricketing heritage. The county and university teams are very successful and cricket is played in a lot of schools.
We’re only a few miles from the Emirates Riverside Stadium, where the County Cricket team play in addition to hosting international matches too. True fact, I used to host corporate entertainment events for a technology company I worked for and got talking to Sachin Tendulkar who was there as a guest of the organisers. I didn’t realise who he was a the time until I saw him later on TV.
So, what opportunities are there for kids to get into cricket around Durham.
While Alex’s school doesn’t teach cricket separately or have a team, they do have sessions where they will play cricket as part of their physical activity programme.
All-Stars Cricket Centres
The English Cricket Board gives a lot of funding to grassroots cricket, and there are a number of All-Stars Centres around the county that teach kids as young as five. We’re looking into it for Alex in the summer.
Watching the County Team
The local cricket club has a host of special offers to try and get kids interested in watching cricket from a young age. This included family tickets, discounts and other special events at the clubs aimed at kids. We’re looking to get tickets for some of the matches in the warmer months.
No international matches have been announced yet but it would be great to take him to see one of these matches, so he can experience the thrill of international competition.
I’m really keen for Alex to be interested in sports. I’m not planning on forcing him into it, but we’re going to give him the opportunity to try as many as possible and if he does take an interest, give him the chance to develop it as far as he wants. I think his Dad is secretly hoping he’ll take to football or golf, but who knows, we might have a little cricketer in the making.