Eastbourne stages biggest schools' cricket festival

Eastbourne is providing the setting and the weather for the UK’s largest pre-season cricket festival for schools.

This year’s festival has drawn 25 schools from as far as Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Derbyshire, Essex, London, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.

It is organised by Eastbourne-based company Sporta Tours and festival director Rob Ferley, who is head of cricket at Eastbourne College.

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Ferley said: “Our festival is different to many because it’s all about the players’ development, and that’s really contributed to its popularity and growth over the years.

Eastbourne College take on Framlingham College in one of the Easter-week matches / Picture: Jon Rigby

“Rather than placing the emphasis on scoring and competitive outcome, it’s designed to provide a rounded experience for the young players.

“They can practice all formats, including 40 over and T20 games, in different environments.

“We also give coaches the freedom to tailor the fixtures as the festival progresses. For example, if a match finishes early, they can continue play to get the most out of their time here.

“We have the support of some fantastic umpires too, and the grounds here at Eastbourne College, The Saffrons and Bedes have been excellent.”

Taking advantage of a festival at home, Eastbourne Cricket Club and Eastbourne College were among those taking part. Eastbourne College’s U18s are pictured playing Framlingham College.

The 2022 festival comprises several categories: U15s and U18s have played their matches and U14s get their chance at the end of May.

Fixtures were held at Eastbourne College’s College Field and Memorial Field, The Saffrons’ Larkins Field and Saffrons Main Field, and Pitches 1 and 2 at Bedes.