Community team enjoys NatWest OSCAs success

Leicestershire CCC’s outstanding Community team saw their achievements recognised at the recent NatWest OSCAs ceremony at Lord’s.

Held in the Nursery pavilion at the Home of Cricket, Asian Sports Association in Leicester scooped the honour for being the Women’s softball cricket festival of the year.

The event was driven by the club’s Community Engagement Officer Amna Rafiq, Mira Patel and their team, and gained national recognition, including live coverage on Sky Sports.

A total of 92 women and girls took part in the biggest festival to date at Asian Sports Association, many of who had never played cricket before. Ten teams competed throughout the day, which also included a Bhangra-blaze warm-up involving dancing and throwing bright, colourful Abeer Holi powder.

There was Halal fizz and prosecco, sweets and chocolates to keep people energised. The final, which was a one-over affair, saw Leicestershire CCC provide all the family members, fans and other teams with branded hairy headbands, clappits and 4s/6s cards to cheer the teams on.

The day ended with some delicious food in partnership with Mirch Masala, and all participants were invited to attend a Vitality Blast match at the Fischer County round to introduce them to professional cricket.

Mira said: “We ran our festival as a community event and we wanted to encourage women across Leicester to take part.

“They brought their family, friends and daughters along and it was such a colourful day - from Bollywood songs for the warm up, colours being thrown everywhere and dancing - it was a big cricketing party.

“Cricket is a game for everyone. There are so many women out there who love cricket. We are giving them the opportunity to do their own thing, have fun and play the game.”

Leicestershire CCC Education & Programmes Officer Stephen Franklin was named as runner-up in the outstanding contribution to coaching section.

Stephen introduces many youngsters to cricket through his brilliant community programmes, including inviting schools to classroom sessions at the Fischer County Ground, where they get a tour and the chance to meet professional players and coaches.

He started volunteering in PE lessons and after school clubs and has since gained ECB coaching qualifications up to level three. Stephen volunteered for many hours at Stoughton and Thurnby CC, and not only does Stephen coach youngsters himself, he also helps to ensure that there are more coaches at clubs.

The awards are further recognition for the community team following presentations during the test match between England and India at Edgbaston earlier this year.

Head of Community Development and Indoor Centre Manager Mark Barber won the Coach of the Year, Stephen won the Outstanding Contribution Award while Jamie Bolton, who has also worked at the club, won the Young Coach of the Year.

* Leicestershire CCC would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Community team on their huge success this year.