Pupils from Shuttleworth College were treated to a once in a lifetime opportunity as they took part in the national anthem ceremony for England Women’s Cricket ICC World Cup match in Derby.
Shuttleworth College were selected as one of 27 schools and colleges from across the country to act as the national anthem flag bearers thanks to TeamUp, an initiative developed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), England Hockey and England Netball, to encourage 7-13-year-old girls to experience the benefits of sport.
26 pupils from the college based in Padiham, Burnley took centre stage for England’s final group game against New Zealand as they walked onto the field displaying the nations’ flags. The pupils, of which 15 were girls, were also given the opportunity to play a game of cricket on the outfield during the half-time interval.
Abigail Bates, a teacher at Shuttleworth College who attended the World Cup match with the school children, said: “The whole day was such an amazing experience for our pupils. Many of our children who attend Shuttleworth have not had opportunities such as this. Fantastic initiatives such as TeamUp enable our pupils to gain experiences that they wouldn’t normally dream of.
“Some of our girls absolutely love cricket but have never been able to experience it live before, especially the women’s game. Seeing first-hand the female international players perform at such a high level has really inspired them to want to take up cricket more seriously. Since the game they’ve all been asking me for extra cricket training, and even want to learn how to do the ‘Natmeg’ [a memorable shot played by England’s Natalie Sciver in which the batter deliberately played the ball between her legs].”
In fact, all of the pupils who attended the game were so captured by the tournament and England’s progress that when the team got through to the semi-final – which was in the middle of the school day – they ran into their teacher’s classroom to watch the match.
By attending live women’s sport, the TeamUp initiative hopes to inspire a younger generation of girls to want to give team sports a try, and Abigail can see this happening already with Shuttleworth College delivering all three sports to its female pupils in the school.
The school now has a successful cricket team (who made the Lancashire schools final) and two netball teams in certain age groups due to the increase in interest.
TeamUp aims to promote the transferrable skills that comes with playing team sport, skills that can be taken forward not only in their studies but their future careers as well. Abi adds: “It has helped our girls realise that you don’t have to be amazing individually, but if you’re able to work as a team you can be successful.
The school also comments that the initiative is going far beyond just playing sport by giving students an increased sense of confidence. “There is one pupil who used to be quiet and shy, but through playing cricket has started to flourish. Her confidence, communication skills and even her grades have greatly improved, so much so that she won the 2016/17 Year 7 Sports Award.”
For access to money-can’t-buy prizes and experiences, resources for teacher delivery and information about training opportunities, sign your school up to TeamUp now: www.teamupengland.com