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Middlesex star Roland-Jones unveils mini Lord’s to inspire and help children try cricket

PUBLISHED: 09:00 07 December 2017

Toby Roland-Jones opens the batting at Kidzania launch (Pic: Clare Skinner)

Toby Roland-Jones opens the batting at Kidzania launch (Pic: Clare Skinner)

MCC/Clare Skinner

Middlesex and England cricketer Toby Roland-Jones, plus former stars Mike Gatting and Angus Fraser, helped launch the club’s new partnership with KidZania London last Thursday.

Children playing cricket at Kidzania (Pic: Clare Skinner) Children playing cricket at Kidzania (Pic: Clare Skinner)

The trio unveiled Lord’s Cricket Ground at KidZania – Middlesex Cricket’s new indoor cricket facility based at London’s most popular children’s entertainment attraction.

The mini Lord’s is designed and created to look just like the real thing – providing youngsters with the opportunity to take part in the game, get active, have fun and learn life lessons such as the importance of teamwork, nutrition, healthy lifestyle and good sportsmanship through playing cricket in a replica of the games’ most inspirational venue.

“I think of myself growing up, cricket played a huge part and I was lucky enough to access it from the age of four upwards, so to be here is great,” said seam bowler Roland-Jones.

“Kidzania as a whole has got a really good programme here, mixing education with fun sort of elements of being a young kid, so hopefully the cricket ties in with that really nicely.

Children playing cricket at Kidzania (Pic: Clare Skinner) Children playing cricket at Kidzania (Pic: Clare Skinner)

“I think it does, they all looked like they had a lot of fun in the mini Lord’s that has been created.

“I think it provides a great interaction, as cricket is there to be fun, hitting the ball as far as you can, and seeing what can happen.

“Hopefully it’s a success and it can really engage some of the younger generation to take it up long-term.”

Roland-Jones missed out on playing for England in the Ashes this winter due to injury, but believes cricket offers a lot of different paths for children and gives them opportunities.

“Things are always changing around us and it’s important to try and maintain the opportunities that young kids have to sort of find their way and cricket is a great sport to start at a young age,” he added.

“It’s got a lot of values that can really translate across different avenues, so for me being able to take to a field at a young age, with 10 of my friends and compete and enjoy myself on a nice summer’s day was a great way to enjoy my youth.

“Hopefully these sort of initiatives can really increase the participation and it’s great to see a lot of young girls here as well, as the game is really growing in that area, so hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.”

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