In the region of 100 children aged six and upwards, from Zichron Yaakov in the North, Be’er Sheva in the South, and central areas descended on Hadar Yosef Sports Stadium as the Israel Cricket Association launched their revamped development program.
The scheme will be spearheaded by former Belmont & Edgware all-rounder Herschel Gutman, who recently arrived in Israel to take up his position as national coach and development officer.
“The idea behind the day was to get as many youngsters who may have an interest in cricket involved, and now getting chugim and clubs started up in their areas so within a couple of months we have cricket established in as many cities and towns as possible,” said Gutman.
Especially welcome participants on the day were the 30 children from Hura, many of whom made their first visit to Tel Aviv.
Recently introduced to cricket by the ICA in partnership with UK charity Cricket4Change, the young Bedouins, smartly kitted out in their royal blue Hura Cricket Club shirts, are unfamiliar with the finer intricacies of the game, but nevertheless showed terrific enthusiasm and really enjoyed their day out.
“I did not realise so many kids play cricket”, said Ahmed, in wide-eyed amazement. “I loved playing with all these children, I cannot wait until the next time,” said Mohammed while he ate his chips.
Plans are under way to include some of the most promising Bedouin children in weekly practice sessions for the best Under 13 players in the country, as well as continue to expand the project to include more schools in the Negev Bedouin towns.