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Leicestershire cricketers didn’t bat an eyelid when they were handed a surprise challenge today – to sing in a choir with just a few minutes' notice.
Matthew Boyce was captain of a team consisting of Matthew Hoggard, Greg Smith and Michael Thornely and they were set the Challenge Anneka-style test at De Montfort University on Thursday.
It was all part of a day of team building for the Foxes who had placed players with major sponsors and partners for the morning to take part in activities which would take them out of their comfort zones.
The four players arrived at Trinity House on the DMU Campus to be given the challenge by Mark Charlton, manager of the university’s Mile2 project which works with academics, students and residents to make a difference to community life.
They learned that they had to sing the song 'Fields of Glory' with the Mile2 Community Choir, made up of residents living near DMU campus. Hoggard said the song was already a favourite with the players, who had previously adapted it to be the team song with the revised title 'Fields of Grace Road.'
He said: “We were definitely not up to singing as well as these guys [the choir], but we were feeling enthusiastic! This has sort of become our team song so singing it has been a great build-up to the start of the season.”
Jane Bursnall, choir mistress, put the lads through their paces including warm-up stretches and vocal exercises before they launched into the song, which had been specially adapted from the Irish folk song.
She said: “We changed the song lyrics to sound more cricket orientated, where the original version is more about football. We also added a few references to Leicester rather than Ireland.”
Choir members were delighted to have new recruits for the morning. The song was performed at St Mary de Castro Church. Karen Gavin, choir member, said: “I’ve been in collaborations before, with Lancaster Community Choir for example, but this was very different. It has been a real laugh.”
Mark Charlton, Mile2 manager, said: “I don’t think the lads will be auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent any time soon but it sounds like they’ve a lot of potential. I feel we’ve achieved something quite special. They’ve risen to the challenge, taken everything seriously and expressed real commitment to the task at hand.”
While the four players were singing, other groups of four were taking part in a series of mental and physical challenges at Global Payments, working at an allotment for Leicestershire Cares on behalf of sponsors Next Plc and having a go at carpet fitting for Michael John Flooring.
A Leicestershire CCC spokesman said: “We’ve never done anything like this before. We put the idea to the sponsors and they really supported it. Singing has certainly taken them out of their comfort zone and I think they have certainly enjoyed their time here.”
* Thanks to DMU for kind use of this article.