Finnish girls visit Lord's on trip of a lifetime
A young girls' cricket team from Finland will experience the trip of a lifetime this week when it comes to London to take part in three action-packed days of cricket activity, the highlight of which will be a visit to Lord's for the second day of England's first Test Match against South Africa.
The budding cricketers, who are all aged between 11 and 12 years old, attend Töölö ala-aste school in Helsinki where they have been learning the game under the watchful eye of Maija Scamans the Finnish Cricket Association's (FCA) Development Officer, a teacher at the school, and the lady responsible for organising the trip.
The visit, which is a joint venture between the FCA and the South London-based sports academy Teachsport, commences on Thursday 10th July at Downderry Primary school in Lewisham. Here the girls will join in the school's "Fitness Olympic Week" celebrations including taking part in some cricket drills and games. In the afternoon the team will play a pairs cricket game at Catford Cyphers Cricket Club against a Lewisham girl's side.
On Friday the group will travel to the "Home of Cricket", Lord's Cricket Ground, to watch England take on the South Africans in the second day of the Test. During the lunch break the girls will take to the outfield where they will entertain the crowd with Kwik Cricket demonstration games.
This exciting opportunity has been made possible through the partnership of Teachsport and MCC's ongoing Spirit of Cricket program. Teachsport is providing qualified coaches who will accompany the children on to the pitch, whilst the MCC are contributing the team's transport costs and providing Spirit of Cricket t-shirts and caps, so the girls really will look the part, as well as play it!
The final day will begin with a morning coaching session at Bromley Common Cricket Club after which the group will be left to explore the sights and sounds of London before making the trip back home to Helsinki on Sunday.
The entire trip stems from the continuation of an excellent partnership between the FCA and Teachsport, which to-date has been based on a coaching exchange programme. The Finnish National Team and the FCA junior programme has benefitted greatly from visits form Teachsport, and some of the younger Finnish coaches have had a chance to visit London and see the brilliant cooperation in work between schools and clubs through Teachsport - something that the FCA would like to emulate between its schools and clubs.
To help fund the trip Maija, the girls, and their parents (including seven who are accompanying the girls on the trip) organised fund-raising events some of which were attended by young players from the Finnish National Team to help raise cricket-awareness as well as funds. The FCA is also supporting the trip with some funding in the hope that this tour will help the junior game receive more well-deserved recognition in Finland.
Further news and photos from the trip will appear on the ICC Europe website www.icc-europe.org on Friday. For more information on cricket in Finland visit the FCA website at www.cricketfinland.com