City Hall plays host to celebration of cricket in East London


Essex Cricket, in collaboration with Middlesex Cricket, hosted ‘A celebration of community cohesion and aspiration through cricket in East London’ event at City Hall on the evening of Monday 19 February.

The highlight of the evening was a series of panel discussions featuring notable figures from cricket in East London. The panels included former professionals, female trailblazers, and volunteers who are activating the game in our region.

Among the attendees were former international cricketers Nasser Hussain, Mike Gatting, and Angus Fraser, who participated in the professional panel discussion.

The event, driven to creation by Unmesh Desai, member of the London Assembly for City & East and Essex Cricket Community Director, was also attended by Deputy Mayor of London Howard Dawber, who addressed the 230 guests in attendance.

Guests from the community, who have played significant roles in promoting inclusivity and participation in cricket at all levels, were welcomed to celebrate the game’s impact on people of diverse ages, genders, and backgrounds in East London.

Activities included a cricket session by children from Ekota Academy (Goodmayes Park, Ilford), Redbridge CC (Clayhall Park, Redbridge) and Hawks CC (Jubilee Playing Fields, Waltham Forest).

Also on display was a showcase of table cricket, which is designed to enable young people with disabilities to play and compete in the sport.

The discussions, which were chaired by BBC London’s Kevin Hand, were rounded off by closing speeches from England & Wales Cricket Board Chief Executive, Richard Gould and Essex Cricket Community Chair, Rachel Lewis.

Nasser Hussain, a staunch supporter of grassroots initiatives in the region, emphasised the importance of such events in bringing together people of diverse backgrounds who share a passion for cricket.

He said: “Events like this are hugely important to the continued growth of our sport. You only had to look around the room to see that with the variety of people, the variety of ages and the variety of cultures.

“No one needs to tell anyone, in particular the British Asian community, how important cricket is to people’s lives.

“It’s like a religion and a second nature, and they are mad about it. Cricket is going through the roof now and it’s a huge part of this community.”

Arfan Akram, East London Cricket Operations Manager, added: “The inspirational East London community continues to play a huge part in activating the game we love.

“The opportunity to showcase the journeys, challenges and personal stories of inspiring individuals at an iconic venue such as City Hall was very powerful.

“One of the aims of the event was to empower those within our community to share their experiences and hopefully inspire the number of youngsters in the room to follow their dreams within our sport.”

“The panel discussions covered a diverse range of topics, including the advocacy efforts of South Asian female role models in programmes aimed at dismantling barriers to access for young girls and the aspirations of young cricketers.

“The initiatives of volunteers in facilitating pathways for students from state schools, and the invaluable insights shared by former England legends regarding their personal journeys and experiences were also discussed.

“It was an honour to host this event in collaboration with Middlesex Cricket as part of the Cricket4London initiative, where cross-boundary partnerships are having a huge impact in engaging, exciting and enhancing everyone’s experience in cricket.”

Panel Discussion Guests, chaired by BBC London’s Kevin Hand:

‭• Panel Discussion #1: To continue to activate Women & Girls Cricket from the diverse community
Jusnara Khanom, Asma Haq, Sheena Barnett

‭• Panel Discussion #2: A Celebration of State Schools Cricket connected to Clubs and League.
Judy Coles, Kevin Wackett, Paul Cook, Steve Wilkes

‭• Panel Discussion #3: Forging a professional career through cricket in London
Nasser Hussain, Mike Gatting, Angus Fraser

‭• Panel Discussion #4: Community and Performance Pathway Journey
Cordelia Griffiths, Ronnie Jackson, Ali Zeb, Josh Knappett

The Eagles Have Landed: The 2024 Vitality Blast at The Cloud County Ground

Fresh from a Finals Day appearance last summer, 2019 T20 champions Essex are back in shortest-format action in Chelmsford from Sunday 02 June.

With over 19,000 tickets already sold, demand is running high, so there’s no time to waste to secure the best seats as the Eagles aim to go one better in 2024.

Sunday 02 June, 4pm: Essex v Middlesex – buy here
Friday 07 June, 7pm: Essex v Glamorgan – buy here
Friday 14 June, 7pm: Essex v Sussex Sharks – buy here
Thursday 20 June, 7pm: Essex v Hampshire Hawks – buy here
Friday 05 July, 7pm: Essex v Somerset – buy here
Thursday 11 July, 7pm: Essex v Kent Spitfires – buy here
Sunday 14 July, 2:30pm: Essex v Surrey – buy here