A prestigious partnership to help make Newham the cricket capital of East London by 2020 was launched on Friday 21 April by Newham Council and Essex Cricket.
The council and club have teamed up to build on the work already being undertaken across the borough with a wide range partners to promote and grow the sport in Essex, Newham, and the rest of East London.
The partnership will help develop new facilities and activities in Newham to encourage even more people to take up the game and help develop the game in the borough.
The work will help inspire young people to follow in the footsteps of local cricketing stars like England and Essex all-rounder Ravi Bopara, from Forest Gate, and Saba Nasim, who took up cricket while at Plashet School in East Ham. She received the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year Honours this year for her commitment to coaching women and girls in cricket.
It is also hoped the partnership will lead to the development of a cricket club from Newham that is able to compete in the Shepherd Neame Essex Cricket League in the future.
Under the three-year agreement Essex Cricket will help the council promote the sport through attending a range of events including the Mayor’s Newham Show in July and hosting coaching sessions in schools and colleges.
The club will also give Newham residents the chance of seeing top class cricket by providing hundreds of free tickets to championship and one day games at their Chelmsford ground. Information on how to apply for these tickets will be published in the Newham Mag.
Cricket is already popular in Newham with high levels of women playing the game, and a number of well-established cricket clubs producing some promising young players.
To help build on this strong foundation, and potentially help unearth fresh talent for Essex Cricket, Newham Council will also enhance the borough’s cricket facilities including:
- developing two ‘hub’ clubs in the borough that could support ten adult and 20 junior teams. A ‘hub’ club for women and girls will also be established with the aim of encouraging at least 50 people to get involved.
- training around 50 residents a year to help coach and encourage people to play cricket.
- setting up an annual Newham Cricket Festival.
The partnership has been endorsed by a number of the stars of the current Essex Cricket squad.
Ravi Bopara said: “Partnerships like these are vital to keep our great game developing and improving. With such a large catchment area this partnership will create a link that will hopefully see future Essex and England stars making a career in professional cricket. I am proud to fly the flag and hope others will follow the same path as myself and achieve their dreams.”
Ashar Zaidi said: “Having already attended events and coaching sessions in Newham I have seen first-hand the passion for the game and quality of cricket being produced. If we can work in partnership and continue to produce the next generation of men’s and women’s cricketers that can only be a good thing. I see this partnership as pivotal in achieving that and I am delighted it has been secured.”
It is hoped the partnership will help lead to young people from Newham making up ten per cent of Essex Cricket’s performance squads by 2020.
Cabinet Member for Sports and Leisure Councillor Forhad Hussain said: “I am delighted we have agreed this partnership with Essex Cricket which will only help our growing cricket community in the borough to flourish. We have huge ambitions for the sport in Newham as we want to make it the place in East London synonymous with cricket. This agreement helps lay the foundations to achieve this.
“Cricket is a game anyone can play and get involved in. It is a fantastic way of bringing people together and playing sport, which then helps towards them leading longer and healthier lives. This partnership will not only help encourage and support more people to take up the sport but also give our residents the chance to see top quality competition at Essex Cricket.”
Essex County Cricket Club Chairman, John Faragher, said: “This partnership with Newham Council represents an exciting opportunity for the further development and expansion of cricket in the region. It also supports the council’s ambitious plans for Newham to be the centre of cricket in East London.
“It will encourage more people to become actively involved with cricket, and will provide the foundations that will allow the next generation of men’s and ladies cricket to flourish.”