As a sport-loving dad, I appreciate it when event organisers put effort into engaging children at an early age. Which is why I’m delighted that Lord’s Cricket Ground is hosting a Family Night next Thursday, August 3rd, during the NatWest T20 Blast match between Middlesex and Hampshire.
I remain a fan of the long-form Test match version of the game – although my viewing has been curtailed somewhat in recent years by the birth of our three kids – but Twenty20 cricket is undeniably thrilling. With each innings lasting only 20 overs, matches are fast-moving, action-packed and complete in a (relatively) bite-sized three hours.
It’s the perfect format for introducing kids to the sport and planting the seeds from which the next generation of Joe Roots might grow. The NatWest T20 Blast series is perfectly timed too. Running from July 7th to Finals Day on September 2nd, it neatly bookends the summer holidays.
Middlesex are playing T20 Blast matches on consecutive Thursdays at Lord’s. They host Sussex on August 10th but before that their game against Hampshire on August 3rd is a Family Night, complete with lots of off-pitch activities to entertain the children.
Pinky’s Pavilion will be taking over the Nursery Ground, with kids able to get involved with Middlesex’s fast and fun format B20 cricket – played six-a-side with 20-ball innings – a bowling speed gun, funfair games such as hoopla, hook-a-duck and a coconut shy, and more.
Kids can also meet the players and get autographs, as well as have their photo taken with both the T20 Blast and County Championship trophies. Perfect for the selfie generation!
Other activities include a NatWest virtual reality unit, cricket taster sessions in the MCC Academy, balloon modellers and face painters.
And then there’s the game itself. Heading to the stands for a 6:15pm start, kids can grab a 4/6 sign, hairy headband or giant foam finger to cheer on their cricketing heroes.
The timing of this couldn’t be better from a personal perspective. Our eldest son, Isaac, joined a local junior cricket team this year and recently played in his first competitive match. So he’s excited by the prospect of going to a live game and watching the professionals play. Maybe he’ll pick up a tip or two.
It should make for a fun summer holiday evening out for both of us. Who knows, maybe we’ll see you there?
Tickets for Thursday’s Family Night are available for just £20 for adults and £5 for under-16s. For more information, go to lords.org/familynight.
Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to attend Family Night at Lord’s. All opinions are my own.