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ECB to extend All Stars kids scheme to build on World Cup success

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The ECB have extended their All Stars kids cricket programme to accommodate for the enthusiasm generated by England’s successful World Cup campaign.

The scheme, aimed to provided children aged between 5 and 8 with their first organised experience of the sport, usually ends as the school holidays begin. But the ECB, eager to capitalise on renewed interest in the sport, have arranged for a further 10,000 All Stars places to be available around the country.

This year, 66,000 children attended All Stars sessions; up from 59,000 last year. The aim is that, when each eight-week course ends, the clubs which ran the courses will offer the children involved further playing opportunities in the summer holidays. The ECB have also rolled out an extension of the scheme which caters for 8 to 12-year-olds utilising smaller pitch lengths and smaller team sizes.

The ECB are also aiming to launch a school’s strategy later this year the broad aim of which will be to double the participation numbers of children playing cricket in primary schools.

“It’s crucial that we use the platform created by the World Cup to introduce more young people to the sport and hopefully spark a lifelong passion for the game,” An ECB spokesperson told ESPNcricinfo. “All Stars Cricket has been very successful in that over the last three years and hopefully the ‘Have a Go’ sessions will get an additional 10,000 kids down to their local club. We now need to make our game as accessible as possible which is why a major part of our strategic plan is to double participation in primary schools by 2024.”

Cricket World Cup organisers claim the tournament is the third “most-watched global sporting event” – in terms of broadcast figures – after the football World Cup and the Olympics, with more than four million ticket applications made and 888,000 tickets sold. 100,000 of those were under 16. Around 43 percent of ticket buyers described themselves as England supporters, while 32 percent said they supported India, 10 percent Pakistan and six percent Bangladesh. Around 80 percent of ticket buyers lived in the UK.

For details of which clubs are offering the sessions and when visit: allstarscricket.co.uk



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Recent Match Report – Cape Town Blitz vs Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, Mzansi Super League, 26th Match

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Tshwane Spartans v Cape Town Blitz – match abandoned without a ball bowled

Durban Heat face a nervous wait on the weather in their bid to reach the play-offs of the Mzansi Super League after Tshwane Spartans’ game against Cape Town Blitz was abandoned without a ball being bowled on Sunday.

The Heat sit fourth in the points table ahead of the final game of the group stage on Tuesday, needing a win against rock-bottom Jozi Stars to overtake the Spartans and finish third.

But the forecast is again poor in Johannesburg, meaning Tuesday’s game set to be rain-affected. A fifth no-result of the season would leave the Heat a single point behind the Spartans.

Paarl Rocks qualified to the final by beating Nelson Mandela Bay Giants on Sunday, with the two teams finishing level on 27 points each, but the Rocks prevailing thanks to their superior head-to-head record.

That means the Giants will host Friday’s qualifier, with the winner of that game qualifying for Monday’s final in Paarl.

Both the Spartans and the Heat have suffered badly from heavy rainfall throughout the tournament. Five of the Spartans’ ten group games were washed out, including four of their five games at Centurion, while four of the Heat’s nine games thus far have been no-results.

Permutations

Paarl Rocks – finished top, qualified for home final
Nelson Mandela Bay Giants – finished second, through to home qualifier
Tshwane Spartans – will finish third and go through to qualifier unless Heat beat Stars
Durban Heat – will finish fourth and be knocked out unless they beat Stars
Cape Town Blitz – finished fifth
Jozi Stars – finished last

Points table



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Recent Match Report – Paarl Rocks vs Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, Mzansi Super League, 28th Match

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Paarl Rocks 168 for 5 (Delport 39) beat Nelson Mandela Bay Giants 156 for 6 (Kuhn 58, Adams 3-36) by 12 runs

The Paarl Rocks secured a home final in this year’s edition of the Mzansi Super League by defending 168 against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants at Boland Park. The win puts the Rocks on 27 points, the same number as the Giants, but they qualify automatically for the final by virtue of their head-to-head record against the Giants. The Rocks beat the Giants in both pool matches defending similar totals.

The Rocks scored 166 for 7 and beat the Giants by 31 runs in Port Elizabeth 10 days ago. It was tighter today, as the Rocks scored 168 for 5 and won by 12 runs today.

Team news and a good change

Ferisco Adams was brought into the Rocks XI because Hardus Viljoen was unavailable for this match and had early success when he bowled Matthew Breetzke with his first ball. But Adams’ immediate impact paled in comparison to Viljoen’s reason for not playing which his captain Faf du Plessis revealed a little too much about.

Adams also defended 23 runs off the final over, after his first three balls went for nine runs including a massive six from Marco Marais. The Giants’ middle-order man has impressed with his death hitting in this competition and almost took the game away from the Rocks despite being struck on the arm twice by his batting partner Heino Kuhn, who was trying to get the ball past the non-striker in a bid to push for victory. Adams had a memorable finish to the game, taking two wickets in two balls to dismiss Marais and Kuhn in successive balls and seal the Rocks’ spot in the final.

Bjorn’s Fortune

Bjorn Fortuin lived up to his last name with a run-out that may be called fortunate to dismiss Giants’ captain Jon-Jon Smuts, who is also their second-highest run-scorer in the tournament. Smuts was at the non-strikers’ end when Kuhn his the ball back to Fortuin. Smuts had ventured a few feet out of his crease, anticipating a run, but Fortuin reacted quickly to get down, and deflect the ball onto the stumps. Smuts saw him and tried to get back but Fortuin was a fraction quicker and Smuts was short of his ground. The Giants were 62 for 3 at that stage and needed to score at 9.6 runs an over to win, something Fortuin played his part in preventing. He finished with 0 for 19 in his four overs, and conceded no boundaries in a stellar effort to strangle the Giants.

Shamsi’s stoke of luck

Fortuin’s built pressure and Tabraiz Shamsi cashed in with a crucial, and lucky breakthrough, the over after Fortuin’s spell ended. Ryan ten Doeschate played across the line to a Shamsi delivery that struck him on the back pad and was given out. Shamsi took off in celebration sans any shoe-phone or magic tricks while ten Doeschate looked on in disbelief. Replays showed the ball was missing leg stump by some distance but with no DRS in operation, ten Doeschate had no recourse and the Rocks had a key wicket.

Delport digs in

With a home final on the cards, Cameron Delport and Henry Davids got their team off to a strong start with 51 runs in the first five overs. Delport led the charge scoring 35 runs off the 20 balls he faced, including eight fours. Three of them came in successive balls off Chris Morris, all in the ‘V’ down the ground. Delport hit one more boundary before he was caught off a top edge but his innings put him into the top five run-scorers in the competition. He has 246 runs at 27.33 so far, behind AB de Villiers, Reeza Hendricks, Ben Dunk and Janneman Malan.

Better than Steyn

After a match-winning 2 for 22 against the Cape Town Blitz on Friday night, Imran Tahir put on another authoritative performance which took to the top of the wicket-charts for the tournament. His two wickets came in two balls. First, he uprooted James Vince’s off stump and then deceived Sibonelo Makhanya with a googly that Makhanya chipped straight back to a short mid-on, put in place specifically for that dismissal. Tahir now has 16 wickets, one more than Dale Steyn, and also the best economy rate of any bowler who has bowled more than six overs at this competition. Tahir has conceded at less than six runs an over – 5.68 – in the 38 overs he has bowled in his 10 group games.





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Julia Price becomes first female coach in men’s Big Bash as Brisbane Heat assistant

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Julia Price, the USA women’s coach and former Australia wicketkeeper, will work with the Brisbane Heat in the upcoming men’s Big Bash League, becoming the first female coach in the competition.

Price, who previously spent three seasons coaching Hobart Hurricanes in the WBBL, will work as an assistant to Darren Lehmann once Ryan Harris departs at the start of next year while on Under-19 World Cup duties with Australia.

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Price was understood to have been a contender for the England women’s role after Mark Robinson’s departure, but that position has since been filled by Lisa Keightley.

“I’m pretty excited about [the role], I have to admit,” Price said while on commentary during the WBBL final on Sunday.

“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to be around the guys and seeing how they do it differently to what the girls do.

“Having been in the Hurricanes set up for the WBBL, it will be interesting to see how the BBL does it. I had a bit to do with the Hurricanes boys but this will be a completely different level now … I can learn off both the players and the coaching staff.”

Lehmann said that Price has an “excellent cricket brain”, and suggested she would have no trouble fitting into the new environment.

“We’d been chatting about whether there were some professional development opportunities for her through her USA role and we just went from there,” he said.

“She has an excellent cricket brain and plenty of experience as a head coach, so I can see her fitting quite neatly into our set-up.

“We knew we had Ryan Harris with us for the start of the BBL before he goes to the U19 World Cup, but there was still a position available for us to fill on the coaching staff and we thought this was a great chance to innovate and think outside the box.

“I’m pleased the Heat have been able to go in a direction that we haven’t seen yet in the BBL in having a woman on the coaching staff, but I don’t believe it will be the last time it happens either.”



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