YCF in landmark International Women’s Day celebrations
The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation (YCF) has celebrated International Women’s Day with a number of special moments in March.
A highlight included a first ever Yorkshire women’s Walking Cricket game hosted by YCF in partnership with u3a – an organisation to support older people – on March, 8, 2022.
The special match saw Yorkshire u3a Allcomers side beat Leeds u3a women 115 runs to 26 across 16 overs.
High profile guests included Northern Diamond cricketers Beth Langston and Sterre Kalis.
Here in Yorkshire we are big advocates for making sure Walking Cricket is as inclusive as possible – Kendal James, the Participation Manager, Yorkshire Cricket Foundation
Pictured, Leeds u3a women in purple took on the blue and yellow Yorkshire u3a Allcomers side in the special match.
Langston, said: “It’s really good to come along, see all the women involved, enjoying the game and giving it a go.
“I think activities like Walking Cricket show that everyone – no matter your age or how much you’ve played cricket before – can give it a go.
“It’s great to see how far cricket has come especially for the women’s game.
“The introduction of the Hundred competition and domestic contracts has really helped improve the standard and the engagement with women and things like Walking Cricket is getting women involved from the grassroots level – I think it’s really exciting.”
Pictured, Northern Diamond cricketer Beth Langston (right) alongside Leeds u3a women’s captain Liz
While retired international umpire Dickie Bird OBE, who umpired in 66 Test matches plus one-day internationals and World Cup finals, oversaw the coin toss at the start of the match.
He said: “To see this women’s only match is very special.”
Walking Cricket – an adaptation of the traditional game of cricket to suit those with less mobility and caters for different abilities – was developed as a new concept in 2019, by YCF and u3a.
Dickie added: “I would recommend anyone to come and play and have a go at Walking Cricket .
“It’s the first time I’ve seen it and I’ve been very impressed. It’s so nice to see older people playing, it’s marvellous.”
Pictured, Dickie Bird OBE (centre) overseeing the coin toss at the start of the match.
After the match Yorkshire Allcomers were presented with a special cricket bat from Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) and a special lunch was also laid on by YCF – highlighting the importance of the social aspect to taking part in Walking Cricket.
Kendal James, the Participation Manager from YCF, said: “Here in Yorkshire we are big advocates for making sure Walking Cricket is as inclusive as possible.
“It’s adaptable in terms of taking part regardless of background and underlying health conditions and it provides a welcoming, friendly and fun environment and allows you to socialise.”
The event was organised by 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 McKechnie (centre) the founder of the first Walking Cricket side in Yorkshire – the Barnsley u3a Walking Cricket team
He said: “This event was so important to me, in a big way because my original concept was to be completely inclusive.
“For many women when they come to a Walking Cricket session it may be the first time they have touched a cricket bat and ball and every time we find that they absolutely love the game.”
The Walking Cricket match was just one of the initiatives Yorkshire Cricket showcased this month to highlight and support International Women’s Day 2022.
Pictured, participants at a special Cardio Cricket tournament run by YCF.
Women across Yorkshire Cricket were celebrated in a video project where they were asked what advice would they give their younger selves.
And a special Cardio Cricket tournament run by YCF took place at the Bilal Sports Centre in Harehills, Leeds on Sunday, 13 March.
Roughly 24 women and girls took part while highlights from the day also included a number of activities set up for young people including a bouncy castle and a number of stalls.