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7 Mar

YCF celebrates IWD 2022 with special match

Yorkshire Cricket are celebrating International Women’s Day 2022 with a special match at Headingley.

The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation (YCF) – the official charity arm of Yorkshire County Cricket Club – is hosting a first ever Yorkshire women’s Walking Cricket game in partnership with u3a.

VIDEO: Walking Cricket: International Women’s Day 2022

Walking Cricket was developed as a new concept in 2019, by YCF and u3a – an organisation to support older people.

The activity is an adaptation of the traditional game of cricket to suit those with less mobility and caters for different abilities.

Pictured, Leeds u3a Walking Cricket participant Liz Maskell taking part during a session at the Indoor Cricket centre at Headingley

The first of its kind match will take place between Yorkshire u3a allcomers and Leeds u3a women teams at Headingley Indoor Cricket Ground.

This year’s theme for IWD is #BreakTheBias, in which calls are being made for an eradication of inequality with respect to gender.

Kendal James, the Participation Manager from YCF, said: “This year’s International Women’s Day celebration is all about showcasing our inspirational women across our Walking Cricket teams in the region, amplifying their voices and helping break-down any perceived bias within the activity.

“It is fantastic to see women from across the county coming together today celebrating what a great activity Walking Cricket is and how inclusive it is for everyone.”

Liz Maskell, 70, a participant from Leeds u3A, added: “It’s brilliant that we’re having this special match on International Women’s Day.

“Anything that brings women together and elevates them in the spotlight is something that is very positive.”

Pictured Leeds u3A Walking Cricket participant Jenny Chin (centre) alongside Rachel Hildreth, a women’s & girls cricket coach.

Retired international umpire Dickie Bird will oversee the coin toss at the start of the match – the Yorkshire cricketing legend umpired in 66 Test matches plus one-day internationals and World Cup finals and was awarded the OBE.

A special lunch will also be laid on after the match by YCF – highlighting the importance of the social aspect to taking part in Walking Cricket.

Watching on from the side-lines is organiser Mac McKechnie, 71, the founder of the first Walking Cricket side in Yorkshire – the Barnsley u3a Walking Cricket team.

The Armed Forces Veteran has since gone on to help set up a further three sides in South Yorkshire and five others across the county including three in West Yorkshire.

Mac said: “It’s an exciting day – this is the very first women’s match in Yorkshire for Walking Cricket and it is so important to me.

“We’ve made it a very special event and a bit of come and see about what Walking Cricket is all about.

“I would like to encourage everyone, including male allies to help support women take up the activity.

“We do hope that this inspires more women to come and join and attend a Walking Cricket group near them.”

Pictured Doona Stuttard, one of the participants taking part in the special Walking Cricket match today at Headingley.

There are a number of health benefits to Walking Cricket including aiding mobility and increasing health and wellbeing – including those living with mental health conditions.

A long-term aim for YCF is to see Walking Cricket become ‘socially prescribed’ by the NHS across the county.

This would see the activity recommended and signposted to patients, visiting their local GPs, to help improve their health, wellbeing and social welfare.

Kendal said: “This is truly a sport for all, because we engage new participants, with zero experience right through to ex-cricketers.

“Moving forward we would love to see this engage more and more people and ideally a social prescribing avenue for people to get involved.”

VIDEO: Walking Cricket: International Women’s Day 2022

If you are interested in finding out more about Walking Cricket groups near you, or you are interested in finding out about sponsoring opportunities for the foundation programme, please contact Kendal James, the Participation Manager for the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, on
E: kendal.james@yorkshirecricketfoundation.com

The Walking Cricket match is just one of the initiatives Yorkshire Cricket is showcasing this week to highlight and support International Women’s Day 2022.

Stay tuned to Yorkshire Cricket social media channels for the latest content.

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