ANDY WILKINSON seized the ‘chance to shine’ with a cricket ball in his hand on the day of England’s great escape in New Zealand . . . and came out on top in a bowl-out with an international star in Hanley.
The Stoke City defender was taking part in a special promotion of the Club’s partnership with Staffordshire Cricket Association when he joined England women’s star Danielle Wyatt at St Luke’s Primary School on Tuesday.
When invited to put his cricketing skills to the test, Wilkinson came out on top in a bowl-out with locally-based all-rounder Wyatt.
Just hours after England’s cricketers had preserved their number two status in the world with a hard-fought draw in Auckland, the pair helped to boost the work at grass roots level to try and find the cricket stars of the future.
The link-up between the Stoke City Community Trust and the Staffordshire Cricket Association means that the Potters’ multi-sports community coaches will deliver a number of sessions throughout the county over the next two years in an attempt to encourage more youngsters to participate in the sport.
The ‘Chance To Shine’ grassroots cricket initiative is one of the most successful in the country, and the partnership between the two organisations has been designed to enable more youngsters from the county to become involved in the sport.
Speaking during the launch at the former school of Sir Stanley Matthews, Wilkinson said that it was hugely important for youngsters to participate in some form of sport, whether it be his first love, football, or something different.
“Whether it be football, cricket or any other sport, it’s vital for youngsters to get outside a little bit and get involved in something like this,” the Stone-born star told Stoke City Player.
“The Club do an incredible job in getting out and about in the county, putting on these sessions for the kids. Obviously a lot of emphasis is on football, but at the same time they do a lot of work in other sports too.”
He added: “I am incredibly fortunate to be doing something I love in the City where I am from, so hopefully if just one youngster is inspired by me and Danielle being here today, then it will have been well worth it.”
The sessions, which began back in September, will continue to take place at twelve different schools within the county, and are free of charge for youngsters to attend.
Anyone who completes ten sessions will receive tickets to a forthcoming Stoke City Premier League game at the Britannia Stadium.
For more information, please contact the Football Club’s Community Programme on 01782 592252, or email firstname.lastname@example.org