Wakefield beat Huddersfield by one run to win title
Wakefield u3a sealed their first Walking Cricket League title as they beat Huddersfield Hurricanes by one run at the Wakefield Football Centre.
After winning the coin toss and asking Huddersfield to bat first – with Huddersfield starting on minus 30 runs, for not fielding three women players in the team – an excellent Wakefield bowling and fielding performance minimised Huddersfield to 35 runs for 5 wickets, on Tuesday, 20 September.
Wakefield’s first title was clinched in dramatic fashion in the chase with captain Mark Johnson, 61, hitting the winning runs on the last ball of the match – finishing on 36 for 7 wickets.
Mark said: “It’s been an excellent game and it’s a shame someone had to lose on the day.
“Both sides fielded and batted so well – it really isn’t a surprise it came right down to the wire.
“We’ve all loved the league this year – we have enjoyed the competition all round – it’s been really, really good and we look forward to it next year!”
We’ve all loved the league this year… it’s been really, really good and we look forward to it next year! – Mark Johnson, captain of Wakefield u3a (pictured centre with the shield and Wakefield teammates)
David Craddock, 70, captain for Huddersfield, who fractured his finger, near the end of the contest while diving for a catch, added: “Wakefield were great opponents – the best we’ve played this year.
“It was very tight – with very good fielding and good bowling on display.”
“It was all round a really enjoyable day and we will be back next year – fighting fit hopefully.”
The two West Yorkshire teams made it into the title clash this week after both sides secured three wins and six points over the course of the Walking Cricket League 2022.
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.
The finals, in partnership with u3a, was officiated by Mac McKechnie, founder of Walking Cricket in Yorkshire, who has recently retrained as an umpire thanks to support from YCF and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), alongside umpire Chris Parkes.
“READ MORE: LANDMARK WALKING CRICKET FINALS“: https://yorkshirecricketfoundation.com/news/view/1323/landmark-walking-cricket-league-finals-day
Mac, 72, said: “The Walking Cricket League provides an opportunity for those Walking Cricket participants who enjoy a competitive element to the sport.
“For example there are a number of ex-cricketers who thought their playing days were done years ago – but who are still very good.
“They enjoy mainly the competitive element – the league provides something for them as well as the week-in week-out social Walking Cricket which is what the sport was founded on and is the main focus and always will be.
“For next year we hope the league will be even bigger and better!”
Pictured from left Kendal James, the Participation Manager for YCF, alongside Mac McKechnie, the founder of Walking Cricket.
The finals day opened with a special women’s only game in the morning starring 16 Walking Cricket participants from across the region and a special buffet was also provided on the day.
Adele Davidson, 55, a participant from the Rotherham u3a Walking Cricket group, who took part in the women’s match, said: “It’s been brilliant – just to be able to meet up with other women.
“It doesn’t matter about your ability, it’ s just about getting together and having a natter with people from different towns and cities, and getting a few tips off others as well. I’ve seen some good bowlers today – and picked up a few tips for my own bowling.
“I’ve really enjoyed it today and Yorkshire Cricket have put on a great spread for us as well.”
Adele joined the Rotherham u3a Walking Cricket group three weeks ago to help support her mental health.
She said: “I’ve been off work for quite a while with some mental health difficulties and one of the things I really struggle with, is when I isolate myself and stay in my mental health gets a lot worse.
“Because I live by myself and haven’t got a lot of family – I had a look around at some activities I could get involved with and I found out about u3a and the walking cricket. I decided to give it a try.
“In the last couple of weeks I’ve become a new person almost – because I have been getting out and mixing with other people. Walking Cricket has been great as there’s a really social element to it as well as health benefits.”
A special women’s only game open the Walking Cricket League finals day starring 16 Walking Cricket participants from across the region.
Walking Cricket was developed as a new concept in 2019 by YCF and u3a – an organisation to support older people.
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).
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