Tomorrow, Saturday 29th July, is Cricket United Day, when three great charities – Chance to Shine, Lord’s Taverners, and the PCA Benevolent Fund – come together to change lives through cricket. Here’s everything you need to know about the big occasion – what it’s all about, and how you can get involved whether you’re at home or watching from the stands.
Who are the charities
The PCA Benevolent Fund help present and former cricketers and their loved ones in times of hardship and upheaval, by offering financial support, advice, counselling, and a dedicated helpline any player can call.
The Lord’s Taverners is the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports charity whose objective is to give disadvantaged and disabled young people a sporting chance. They offer sporting opportunities through a range of cricket programmes, by donating cricket kit and by providing wheelchair accessible minibuses for schools and organisations throughout the UK.
Chance to Shine offer a great introduction to cricket to those who might otherwise not try the game. Over three million children in state schools across the country have taken part in Chance to Shine coaching sessions since their founding, while their Chance to Shine Street program, taking cricket to inner-city areas, is also having great success.
How Is Cricket United Day Different
Whether you’re watching on TV, listening on the radio, or living every ball in the ground, there will be many special Cricket United moments to watch out for.
Each charity has chosen a beneficiary to represent them on the day, and each will form the guard of honour at the start of the day, as well as receiving Cricket United caps in a special ceremony involving both teams on the outfield before the start of play. At the Lunch interval, children aged 8-16 involved in Chance to Shine clubs and Street projects will be playing softball cricket on the outfield. Then at Tea Surrey have organised a parade to celebrate this historic occasion, the 100th Test ever played at the Kia Oval.
Before the start of play, Sky will be showing a special feature demonstrating the amazing work being done by each of the three charities. All the Sky commentators will be wearing specially designed ‘Cricket United blue’ blazers and ties, designed by our official tailor McCann Bespoke, and during the Tea interval, representatives from each of the charities will be interviewed on air to discuss the groundbreaking work their organisations do.
Before the start of play, BBC Test Match Special will be interviewing the three beneficiaries. They have also agreed to give a tour of the fabled TMS box to the winner of our #OvalDoodle competition, and might even discuss the winning entry on air and via their Twitter account.
How can I get involved?
Whether you’re at the ground or following from home, you can help to raise awareness of and funds for these three great causes. If you’re coming to watch it live, wear blue and join thousands of others, including the Sky and TMS commentators, in turning the Kia Oval blue. If you’ve forgotten to wear your best and bluest, you can buy a Cricket United cap for £15, a mini-bat for £8, or get both for £20.
England’s and South Africa’s players have done some entertaining doodles of cricketing legends which you can see and bid on here. You can also donate online here, or donate £5 by texting ‘CRICKET’ to 70123