Arlington Avenue plays host to a first for the Wicketz programme

Celebrations for Wicketz players in Leamington.
Celebrations for Wicketz players in Leamington.

Leamington Cricket Club welcomed the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports charity, the Lord’s Taverners, on August 31 as they hosted the Birmingham and Luton Wicketz hubs for the first ever match played between two hubs outside of London.

Launched in 2012, Wicketz uses cricket as a tool for change.

The programme is aimed at hard to reach young people within areas of high deprivation across the UK.

Wicketz provides a sustainable cricket environment with a focus on social cohesion and developing crucial life skills such as respect, teamwork and self-confidence.

For the young Wicketz participants it was their first ever match.

Birmingham ended the day victorious, winning with just an over to spare.

However, it was Luton’s Aaron D’Souza who was player of the day, scoring 43 runs with the bat.

As well as the cricket element to Wicketz, with access to regular coaching and competitive opportunities, the programme also delivers workshops around healthy living, crime and social issues.

So far, workshops have been run at a number of hubs with the police, fire brigade and other local partners.

Weekly Wicketz sessions are being delivered across the country, including hubs in Birmingham (Dudley, Redditch and Birmingham), which have proved to be very popular since the turn of the year, with 70 young people now attending the three hubs on a weekly basis.

Lord’s Taverners cricket programmes manager Henry Hazlewood said: “It’s a fantastic experience for young people from inner-cities to be able to play matches against other groups from different areas of the country.

“Cricket is the hook but they take away so much more which contributes to their personal development.”