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16 Sep

Landmark Walking Cricket League finals day

Yorkshire Cricket Foundation (YCF) is set to celebrate an eagerly anticipated finals day in Wakefield.

The Foundation is hosting the first ever Walking Cricket League final, with the opportunity for people to come and watch at Wakefield Football Centre, on Tuesday, 20 September.

READ MORE: Walking Cricket League launches in Yorkshire

The finals day, in partnership with u3a, will open with a special women’s only game starring 16 Walking Cricket participants from across the region – starting at 10.30am.

This will be followed by the grand final between Huddersfield and Wakefield – at 2pm, who will battle it out, over 16 overs, for the coveted Yorkshire Walking Cricket Shield, donated by YCF.

The two West Yorkshire teams made it into the title clash after both sides secured three wins and six points over the course of the Walking Cricket League 2022 – with Huddersfield topping the table on run difference.

While South Yorkshire side Rotherham finished in third, with two wins this season, followed by Barnsley (fourth) and Doncaster finishing fifth after each securing one victory this year.

This final will be a mile-stone and I expect a hard fought game with the beautiful shield up for grabs – Mac McKechnie, the founder of Walking Cricket in Yorkshire

Mac McKechnie, 72, the founder of the first Walking Cricket, who has been at the heart of increasing the impact of the transformational sport across the county, said: “It’s the first year for the Walking Cricket League…it’s very exciting to have played matches throughout the Summer, culminating in the top two teams meeting in the final.

“This final will be a mile-stone and I expect a hard fought game with the beautiful shield up for grabs.

“It has been a successful first year for this competition – of course there are some tweaks and improvement we can make for next year and hopefully the league will continue to get big and better in years to come.”

Mac, who has recently retrained as an umpire thanks to support from YCF and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), will officiate finals day alongside umpire Chris Parkes, with a buffet and presentation ceremony for winning teams also taking place at the event.

The Walking Cricket League in Yorkshire launched in May this year with the five teams – Barnsley u3a, Doncaster u3a, Huddersfield Hurricanes (independent), Rotherham u3a and Wakefield u3a – competing against one another for a spot at finals day.

Each Walking Cricket team comprises eight players, including a minimum of three women players (with a sub). Players bat in pairs, over 16 overs, with the games played on astro-turf.

Walking Cricket League Final

- Tuesday, 20 September – Wakefield Football Centre – Schedule: Women’s celebration match – 10.30am | Walking Cricket League Final – 2pm | Presentation – 3.45pm

Pictured, Mac with the Walking Cricket League Shield.

Walking Cricket

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. Just as important as the cricket itself is the social element, with tea, coffee and biscuits provided and the opportunity for catch-up after the sessions.

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.

While the Walking Cricket League in Yorkshire supports those who enjoy a competitive element to the game – the activity has been designed to cater for all.

Weekly social sessions currently take place across 15 hubs in the region with more than 350 participants. The sessions are designed for absolute beginners right through to ex-cricketers and there is also a Yorkshire representative team – with the hope to play country matches in the future and green field Walking Cricket (played on a field).

For the future 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.

How to get involved in Walking Cricket

If you are interested in finding out more about Walking Cricket groups near you, please visit: bit.ly/WalkingCricket

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