Ten young cricket players from Makhanda will share the spotlight with the national T20 cricket team at the second of the KFC T20 series against Australia in Port Elizabeth on Sunday. Three girls and three boys from Oatlands Primary, and four boys from St Mary’s DCC will form the guard of honour for the Standard Bank Proteas as they walk on to the St George’s Park grounds for the opening ceremony.
The young cricketers are part of the KFC Mini Cricket Programme and are “just so excited” according to St Mary’s Primary and St Mary’s DCC coach Caron* May. “”The kids are thrilled to be given this opportunity,” said May.
KFC Mini Cricket co-ordinator for Makhanda, Renaldo Gombert, hopes the chance to meet the national cricket players face to face will inspire the youngsters.
“Already there is such enthusiasm for the Mini Cricket programme,” Gombert said. “I think this will bring home to these youngsters that top-level cricket is something they can aspire to, that it’s within their reach.”
Travelling to Port Elizabeth for the big match will be Iminathi Mali, Reece Kohl, Sheraad Russian, Layla Crous, Osisipho Jonas and Amvuyele Myeki (all from Oatlands Primary), Caleb Abrahams, Ethan Crous, Percy Heathcote and Stanton Saturday (St Mary’s Primary and St Mary’s DCC).
KFC Mini-Cricket, played with a soft ball, is intended as a safe, fun introduction to cricket for young boys and girls, says Gombert. It teaches children the basics of the game – batting, bowling and fielding. The organisation recently introduced mini-cricket for the differently abled.
Gombert, who recently took over as co-ordinator for Makhanda, says 12 local schools are currently signed up, with the number growing. Each school has at least one team per grade, from Grade 1 to Grade 3. Every week, 288 children from schools across the town participate in the programme.
According to Cricket South Africa, more than 105 000 children participate in the programme around the country, with 8000 coaches and 4 800 schools.
The Port Elizabeth leg of the three-part international series is hosted by Eastern Province Cricket. Gates open at 12.30pm with the match scheduled to start at 2.30pm. According to EP Cricket, the St George’s Park’s Ticket office will be open on Friday between 9am and 4pm and again on Saturday from 9am to 1pm. Tickets can also be purchased online via TicketPro with prices ranging from R50 to R160.
Road closures from 9am on match day as follows:
- One-directional traffic, anticlockwise around St George’s Park, from the Brickmakers Kloof/Park Drive intersection to St George’s Park’s B-Field entrance.
- Safe drop-off locations will be located around the park. Motorists are cautioned not to stop directly in front of the Grounds’ two main entrances.
* Name spelling corrected.