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5 Jan

'First of its kind' Walking Cricket match

A special Walking Cricket match in West Yorkshire has been celebrated in the community.

Walking Cricket, developed as a new concept in 2019, takes the traditional game’s rules and adds one more – no running – to make it accessible, no matter what the ability.

Now the first ever match has taken place between Huddersfield and Wakefield, at the Zone in Huddersfield, last month.

The 10-a-side game was a collaboration with Yorkshire Cricket Foundation (YCF) and u3a – an organisation to support older people.

Huddersfield, who were first into bat, set a respectable total of 86 runs in 20 overs.

The Wakefield side knew the target was well within reach and after the tea break set out to chase down the two figure sum.

But Huddersfield dug deep and after just 12 overs from the restart Wakefield had amassed only 19 runs, losing five wickets in the process.

Despite a late rally by a number of Wakefield batters – the away team came up short with an innings total of 69 – with Huddersfield edging it by 17 runs.

Involved in the match and playing for the Wakefield outfit was 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 three in West Yorkshire.

Walking Cricket takes the traditional game’s rules and adds one more – no running – to make it accessible, no matter what the ability.

Walking Cricket has become a lifeline, particularly in the pandemic for potentially isolated older people – not only for its physical rewards, but its mental and social benefits.

For the future Mac and the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation want to expand the programme, which has been backed by captain of the England Cricket team Joe Root and legendary umpire Dickie Bird, with more teams and participants while providing a blue-print for other counties to follow.

For 2022 plans are in place for the start of a Yorkshire-wide league starting in April.

While a special female only match has been arranged to take place on Tuesday, 8 March to celebrate International Women’s Day 2022.

To find out more information about Walking Cricket and groups near you, visit here.

& / or if 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.

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