Bowled over by the Street Child Cricket World Cup on Cambridge's Parker's Piece
Maybe it was not quite leather on willow, but the sound of bat on ball echoed around Parker’s Piece at the Street Child Cricket World Cup at the weekend.
Amid rain and hail, youngsters enthusiastically took part in the group stages of the inaugural event.
Teams from Team India North and South, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Nepal, West Indies, Mauritius and England were welcomed to the city, before the finals day at Lord’s on Tuesday – won by Team India South.
BBC broadcasters Dan Norcross, Izzy Westbury and Vicki Sparks were on the mic during the course of the weekend to keep the public informed of the events across the two pitches.
Former England bowler Monty Panesar was the star turn on Sunday, helping to raise money for the charity by giving the opportunity for the public to face an over in the nets.
“It’s a great cause, I think it’s brilliant what Street Child are doing,” said Monty, who is soon launching the Monty Panesar Cricket Academy.
“They are promoting this globally to give opportunities to kids who are on the streets. They are away from all that and have been given this opportunity, for them it’s huge. I think it’s brilliant.
“It’s brilliant to be part of it, and they are taking this to the next World Cup in India so I think it will just continue to grow.”
The teams brought an abundance of colour to Parker’s Piece, with their enthusiasm shining through to bring a sense of fun to the event – despite the weather conditions.
Tanzania’s spirit was particularly infectious, with their big hitting approach.
Their team leader, Kanut Massanja, said: “Our children are from a vulnerable background, most of them are from the streets. They were invited in organisations and shelters, now they have been selected to participate in the Street Child World Cup.
“This is their first time to be outside of their country borders, so it’s great that they have done something they didn’t expect actually.
“They didn’t know about cricket, they knew nothing about it. When they got this opportunity, the children were very eager to know what it was and they learned. For the children, it’s a good opportunity to meet other children from different countries, to share experiences, to discuss children’s rights.”
Sixteen-year-old Kudrack was one of the Tanzanian team.
“I’m very happy to be here and to be selected to be one of the children participating because there were a number of children who needed this chance as well,” he said.
“I’m very grateful to be one of the children, and I will encourage other children to see the opportunities and use them. I have learned a lot because I have met a lot of other children from other countries.”
Street Child United’s aims are birth registration, access to education and protection from violence, with the world cups hosted to create a global platform for street children’s voices to be heard.