A team from Belfast has come third in the Ford Inner Cities Cup cricket competition at Arundel Castle Cricket Ground in West Sussex.
The long-running Ford Inner Cities Cup is now in its 16th year and continues to provide youngsters (under 14s) from urban areas the opportunity to play cricket and enjoy the physical and social benefits the sport uniquely provides.
The finals followed a series of rigorous regional heats with 20 inner-city teams competing in the opening stages since May.
Representative teams from Birmingham, Belfast, Bradford, Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds, Leicester and Swansea competed in the three-day finals, which began on August 9 in a two-group, round-robin format.
Belfast took on Leicester in a 30-over 3rd/4th place play off last Thursday, August 11, with Belfast batting first to post a competitive 151-8. Leicester’s batsmen never got going in reply, finishing on 124-6 from their 30 overs.
While its focus is on developing grassroots youth cricket, the Ford Inner Cities Cup has also helped cultivate first-class talent.
England and Essex star, Ravi Bopara, credits the competition as providing his first taste of competitive cricket, while Moin Ashraf, who represented Bradford a few years ago, made his senior debut for Yorkshire CCC last season.
Matthew Patten, Chief Executive of The Lord’s Taverners, said it was all about giving disadvantaged youngsters a chance. “The Ford Inner Cities Cup provides the opportunity for young people from urban areas, where access to sport is often restricted, to take part in a national event and enjoy the benefits of competitive sport. Congratulations to Belfast on finishing third and we look forward to seeing them compete for the title again next year.”