By Gemma Handy
While the eyes of the sporting world may have been focused on the Test match between the West Indies and England yesterday, just a short drive away one local school was enjoying a cricketing feat of its own.
Budding batsmen and bowlers at Golden Grove Primary School were delighted to receive a treasure trove of new gear on Wednesday to help them perfect their skills.
Hats, pads, balls and bats were among the items gifted via the Cricket Kindness initiative which provides new and upcycled equipment to youngsters and disadvantaged communities across the globe.
The children were delighted to put the gear to the test against a group of visiting British sailors who took time out from duties aboard HMS Medway to put them through their paces.
Tamara Lowe, who founded Cricket Kindness in her native Australia in 2016, was on hand to witness the kids in action.
She is currently in Antigua to visit local schools and hand out an impressive 216 kilos (440 pounds) of kit flown to the twin island nation with help from the British High Commission.
Lowe also hosted a benefit dinner earlier this week, attended by National Hero Sir Vivian Richards, to raise additional funds for the cause.
Ardent cricket fan Lowe described seeing the children trying out the gear as a “beautiful, heart-warming” moment.
She told Observer the charity had now donated items to every single government school in the country at least once. Yesterday was the second time Golden Grove Primary had benefitted; the school received a collection of stumps and bats, among other things, in 2019.
“The whole aim of the project is to saturate all of the government schools with plenty of kit so that whenever the kids want to play cricket there’s no obstacle,” she explained.
“For social cohesion, sport is incredibly important. It brings communities together and this is a part of the world where cricket is life.
“For these beautiful kids to not have enough gear to play a game that’s part of their heritage and national culture is something I am trying to correct.”
PE teacher Andre Cadogan told Observer the donated items would be “very beneficial” to his students and help them “develop their talent for the sport”.
“We got some equipment before but we really didn’t have much,” he explained. “The kids love cricket; it’s a game that’s deeply rooted in the West Indies and they are really enjoying it.”
One pupil Jaiden Potter testified to that.
“Cricket is very fun, athletic, and it’s really nice to see when you hit the ball and it goes flying,” he beamed.
Commander Christopher Hollingworth, Commanding Officer of HMS Medway, said his crew were currently on a four-day visit to Antigua and Barbuda with the Royal Navy patrol vessel due to return again at the end of the month.
He said the 11 sailors who visited the school yesterday seized the chance to come out and play with the kids.
“Covid means our team sports haven’t taken place for a while so it was an amazing opportunity. Quite a few of the sailors are parents too.
“It’s a great project and we were really happy to help out in a small way,” he added.