In contrast, sadly, to many other regions, Pembrokeshire has been able to allow its primary schools to take part in what are normally the summer Kwik Cricket festivals. 1,034 children took part - with girls out-numbering boys!
Because the of the relativelt low incidence rates of Covid-19 in Pembrokeshire, and as there are particularly strong links into the local authority, Cricket Wales' staff were able to host activities that may have been difficult, or sadly even unthinkable in other areas. In partnership with colleagues at Sport Pembrokeshire and Pembrokeshire County Council - some very careful protocols around bubbles/isolation/hand sanitizing and spraying of kit were agreed and therefore allowed to proceed.
Cricket Wales personnel in Rick Walton and Martin Jones helped host 18 festivals this year – several more than usual. In order to keep the festivals covid-manageable, each one was reduced in size significantly. Uptake for the Girls’ festivals was again notably high – the girls' only festivals were strongly supported, meaning girls outnumbered boys overall.
It worked, wonderfully! And there were no incidences of covid-related issues arising at all.
But of course the real measure of success was in terms of the enjoyment and sheer release felt by children and members of staff attending. This made the festivals special.
Simon Thomas, Headmaster of Lamphey Primary School spoke for many when he said
“This has been really outstanding. Wonderful to see such great sport and to experience something close to normal school life”.
The planning behind the scenes, to facilitate separation of bubbles and impeccable sanitation, made a whole series of truly rewarding days of cricket action possible. Then Rick and Martin threw in their usual levels of encouragement to make them richly enjoyable.
“Best day of the year” said another teacher, as the festivals closed out - and he may have been right: the reality of a day’s thrilling but very friendly cricket within the context of extraordinary times did make these events stand out as a beacon of hope and possibility.
Feedback from schools' staff was that they really loved the opportunity to partake in organized outdoor activity; whilst these festivals had no onward destination finals – it still offered an enjoyable experience for staff, Cricket Wales people and for the children themselves.