An ace performance
A Westminster City School cricket star recently took part in a nail-bitingly close cricket game at an internationally famous sports ground in London.
Current Year 10 pupil, Antonio, was part of the ACE Programme team that competed against Surrey Schools last week. This was ACE Programme’s first game of the new season and it took place at The Kia Oval, the home ground for Surrey County Cricket Club.
For the last few years, Antonio had been playing cricket at Streatham and Marlborough Cricket Club, who put him forward for trials for ACE Programme last summer. He now trains with ACE Programme every Wednesday after school, spending over two hours at their training grounds, which are also at The Kia Oval.
While Antonio is now used to training at The Kia Oval regularly, it felt very different to be walking out onto the international cricket ground – the first ground in England to host an international test cricket in September 1880 and where the final test match of the English season is traditionally played – to take part in this game against Surrey Schools.
Antonio explains: “It was a little intimidating initially but I really enjoyed the game. My dad was watching and he told me afterwards how proud he was. My dad used to play cricket himself and he really inspired me to take up the sport in the first place.”
Antonio’s team lost their match against Surrey Schools’ by just one run and but the ACE Programme team were praised in a post-match review for their strong team effort, which saw six batters reaching double figures.
A representative from the ACE Programme said: “Congratulations to our ACE boys for fighting it out in their first match of this season. They faced off with Surrey Schools and it all came down to the last ball. We couldn’t be prouder of the morale, work and effort they displayed, on and off the pitch.”
Antonio will play more cricket games over the summer but, as a keen football player, is also looking forward to watching Euro 2020 this month and has high hopes for the England squad.
The ACE Programme was set up to target 11-18 year olds with sporting potential, with the intention of breaking down barriers for the local African Caribbean and ethnic minority community by providing Level 3 ECB qualified cricket coaching, sports science and personal development education, equipment and travel grants – as well as chances to meet inspirational role models. It was the brainchild of former Surrey and England player Ebony Rainford-Brent, now a board member at Surrey County Cricket Club.