Six weeks of entertaining street cricket has culminated into one big day at this year’s Sporting Chance Street Cricket Championship Finals taking place on Thursday 26th November 2009, where all the winning regional teams will battle it out for the coveted trophy.
The program kicked off on 16 October and saw more than 3000 young children from disadvantaged communities participate in five weeks of round-robin fixtures followed by the regional finals.
Not only did the program introduce children under the ages of 11 to the game of cricket, but also gave them the opportunity to meet one of South Africa’s favourite cricketing heros – Herschelle Gibbs.
Summoned from the school classroom as a 16-year-old to make his first-class debut in 1990, Gibbs has loved the game of cricket where he has played in every test nation cricketing country around the world, and enjoys putting back into the game he loves so dearly.
“I have played and enjoyed all levels of the game, but there is no greater joy and satisfaction than seeing the absolute passion these children have in playing cricket” said Gibbs.
“there is no doubt that we have hidden talent on our doorsteps here in the Cape, and with good coaching and mentoring there is no reason why these children cant make it all the way to the top.”
The Street Cricket initiative which is in its sixth succesfull season, was played by children from Gugulethu, Khayelitsha, Kewzi, Nyanga, Langa, Elsies River, Langa, Atlantis, Mannenberg, Mitchells Plain, Ocean View, and Masipumelele in Cape Town.
Brad Bing, MD of Sporting Chance who started the first street cricket league in 2003 says the initiative has enjoyed unprecedented success since it humble beginnings as a pilot project in Langa.
“This year we’ve continued with our successful strategy of 15 teams, as we’ve noticed that the emerging communities are filled with sport mad children” said Bing.
Whilst many dignitaries are expected at the final on the eve of the ODI between South Africa and England, many of Cape Town’s professional players encourage all children to play outdoors.
Robin Peterson, another Proteas player who has recently joined the Cape Cobras, started his game on the streets of Port Elizabeth.
“I have many friends still today who I met whilst playing street cricket” said Peterson. “I love this format of the game and continue to play it whenever I get a chance,” he continue.