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WATCH: South Shields school wins national cricket award

Mortimer Primary School have won a grassroots cricket award. In the front, from left, head of PE Paul McKay and headteacher Geoff Seagrove.
Mortimer Primary School have won a grassroots cricket award. In the front, from left, head of PE Paul McKay and headteacher Geoff Seagrove.

Mortimer Primary School has knocked the opposition for six after receiving a national award for its success in cricket.

Teachers at the school, based in Mortimer Road, South Shields, were stumped seven years ago as they lacked the confidence to deliver cricket sessions.

As a result, the sport was almost non-existent at Mortimer, but after the school teamed up with national charity Chance to Shine in 2008, things started to change.

Chance to Shine aims to spread the power of cricket, working in close partnership with all 39 county cricket boards and hundreds of local cricket clubs.

Mortimer is one of the schools to have greatly benefited, and it has been named as the Primary School of the Year at the Chance to Shine School Awards.

Paul McKay, head of PE at the school, said: “Since the Chance to Shine initiative started, there has been a huge increase in the amount of cricket played in school.

From left to right, Durham Cricket Board's Phil Mellons, Mortimer head of PE Paul McKay, Mortimer headteacher Geoff Seagrove and England and Kent cricketer Sam Billings.

From left to right, Durham Cricket Board's Phil Mellons, Mortimer head of PE Paul McKay, Mortimer headteacher Geoff Seagrove and England and Kent cricketer Sam Billings.

“Probably our best success so far is getting to the North of England finals.

“We went from a school that had no involvement in cricket at all to that level, which I thought was a massive achievement.

“Being involved in the Chance to Shine programme has had a massive impact on both the quantity and quality of cricket played within our school.

“The relationship with local cricket clubs, particularly South Shields CC, has proved highly successful as we direct children to participate in club cricket, and in turn the standard of our school cricket obviously improves along with these children being given the opportunity to enjoy cricket on a regular basis.”

Being involved in the Chance to Shine programme has had a massive impact on both the quantity and quality of cricket played within our school

Paul McKay

Mortimer now enters all South Tyneside school primary cricket competitions, and at South Shields Cricket Club’s annual Year 5 kwik cricket festival, the school brings all of its 90 Year 5 pupils alongside teachers and support staff.

The initiative was introduced at Mortimer by Philip Mellons, Durham Cricket Board’s club and coach development officer.

He said: “It has changed a lot. It was a school which didn’t do any cricket and had no cricket equipment in the PE cupboard, and the teachers were not confident to do cricket sessions in the curriculum.

“It has progressed over the last seven years to where teachers are confident to deliver their own sessions.

“We generally see children playing cricket and wanting to play cricket, which is fantastic to see and wouldn’t have happened without Chance to Shine.”