This is what happened when two Sussex stars dropped in to play street cricket with kids in Southwick.
Would-be World Cup ace Jofra Archer and England spinner Danny Briggs visited one of regular Tuesday afternoon sessions of the Sussex Cricket Foundation’s to Shine Street Cricket project.
They joined 17 boys and girls for a game of the fast-paced version of cricket that is played outside traditional club settings with a tapeball – a tennis-ball wrapped in electrical tape – and is designed to break down barriers like cost, equipment and accessibility that can be associated with sport.
Archer, being widely tipped for a World Cup place with England this summer, said: “Speaking to the coaches, I found out that a lot of the kids here are not in clubs, which I found hard to believe because there’s so much talent.
“I guess some kids might not have the means to go to training or to afford cricket kit. Street Cricket means they don’t have to worry about that, they can just come and play.
“It’s really important to provide these opportunities for the kids because we just don’t know who can be the next England captain or the next death-bowler in one-day or T20 cricket and we won’t find out without projects like this.”
Briggs, who has played eight limited-overs internationals for the full England side, added: “It’s so encouraging to see the numbers coming down here and participating in cricket. It’s great for the kids to be able to just come and play. It’s relaxed, you face balls, you bowl balls, you get to field.
“When I was young, there wasn’t anything like this and it was much harder to get involved if you weren’t from a cricketing family or if you didn’t live near a club. Street Cricket means these kids can give the game a go.
“Being here and seeing how much fun everyone is having makes you realise how lucky we are to play a game you love professionally. Hopefully, me and Jof have added something for the kids today.”
There are seven Street Cricket programmes for 8-14 year olds in Sussex – at Willingdon Trees Community Centre in Crawley, The Y Centre in Hastings, Southfields Jubilee Centre in Littlehampton, Southwick Leisure Centre, The Crew Club and Manor Gym, both in Whitehawk.
Sessions are completely free; no equipment is required and participants can just drop-in. To find out timings for each session or for more information on SCF’s Street Cricket project, visit sussexcricket.co.uk/chance-shine-street.