On the 9th and 10th of August, the Gloucestershire Cricket Foundation hosted CricFest 2023 at the Seat Unique Stadium! The two-day event welcomed children aged 8-14 from across our community programmes and local cricket clubs, to take part in one of our biggest community events of the year. The event saw children participate in a range of cricket matches, skills practice, workshops and much more!
On day one, 80 children arrived at the stadium with a range of cricketing experience and for some, this was their first experience of cricket – what a place to start! The children were split into 10 teams, with half of the teams in the junior section and half in the seniors. The first morning provided a friendly welcome for the teams, taking part in skills challenges and ice-breaker games, to get to know their teammates better. The teams were also taken on a tour of the Seat Unique Stadium, looking around the player changing rooms, dining room and the club museum!
There was also a nutritional workshop delivered by Gloucestershire CCC performance nutritionist, Andrew Petts. The children were able to make their own nutritious bites, which was the standout moment for Oscar, age 11, “I loved making the small bites in the nutrition workshop and eating them!”. It was a fantastic opportunity for the children to develop their understanding of nutrition and what they can do to support their cricket performance.
In the afternoon, the softball tournament started, with all matches taking place on the stadium outfield! The matches adopted the pairs cricket format, which ensured that all players had an opportunity to bat, bowl and field throughout the afternoon. For many of the children, the tournament was the highlight of CricFest, “I really liked batting on the pitch, hitting fours and sixes!” said Wafiq, age 10. The enthusiasm was clear to see and it led to some thrilling matches, with Hannah, age 10, saying “I really liked the competitive matches!”
Day 2 started and the children went straight into the tournament, with more matches on the outfield. We were also joined by Avon Fire & Rescue Service, who joined us with one of their fire engines! It was a great chance for the children to see what is inside a fire engine, asking lots of questions to the firefighters, which was hugely insightful for children and coaches alike. At one stage, the fire fighters were even called into action to help an emergency, which meant they had to leave the stadium! Luckily it turned out to be a false alarm and they returned to CricFest to ensure that all groups had a chance to see the fire engine.
Before lunch, we were joined by Gloucestershire CCC’s Luke Charlesworth, who offered coaching tips both in the indoor centre and during matches on the outfield! It was a great chance for the children to receive advice from a professional player, to help improve their game for the rest of the tournament. We then gathered in the stand for a Q&A session with Luke, who answered a range of questions on his life as a cricketer, his cricketing role-models, the advice he would give to young cricketers and much more!
Lunch arrived and it was time for Nando’s! The Nando’s team arrived with food for all children and coaches, which was a well-deserved treat for everyone involved with CricFest. The sun was shining and it was a great chance to sit outside in the sun, enjoying some lovely food. The Nando’s mascot, Barci, joined us wearing full cricket kit and took to the field to face the bowling of some of our coaches. One huge six was hit, much to the delight of the children in the stand! Oliver, age 10, was the star of the show as he came on to bowl and dismissed Barci caught behind! For Hector, age 9, this was the stand-out moment of CricFest, “I really enjoyed meeting the Nando’s mascot and watching him play cricket!”
It was soon time for the afternoon round of fixtures, which bought the tournament to a close. Two entertaining finals were contested, leading to victories for the yellow and orange teams! We closed CricFest with a presentation, which saw awards handed out for standout performances, displays of sportspersonship and cricketing highlights.
A huge thank you to everyone who attended and supported CricFest, including the Get into Cricket volunteers, who coached throughout the event and accumulated more volunteer hours. For volunteer Seb, CricFest was an invaluable experience “I really enjoyed coaching in the hall, to get to know the children better and understand what they wanted to improve on.”
It was another fantastic event and we can’t wait for next summer, when we will do it all over again for CricFest 2024!