A video of the Diwali celebrations is available to view HERE
Leicestershire County Cricket Club’s community team took over Cossington Park to get involved in the Diwali celebrations in the heart of the Indian community near to Belgrave Road.
The day was a true reflection of the Diwali festivities with plenty of colour and bright lights decorating the outdoor court along with a Rangoli art workshop with Janak Chauhan, an artist from India.
The design on the floor incorporated traditions, folklore and practices that are unique to India, with a twist of cricket including different coloured cricket balls/bats and names of the young participants that attended. It was a colourful and extravagant display of Rangoli art in celebration of the Diwali cricket festival.
A combination of Bollywood and bhangra music created a vibrant atmosphere as many from the local area came to celebrate on the streets and have a go at skills based cricketing activities.
The day also included something common at Diwali; different types of traditional Indian food and sweets to taste throughout. There were samosas, spring rolls, dhokla kachori and much more along with ladoos and barfis.
The cricket tournament that was part of the Diwali celebration event took place out on Cossington Recreation Ground on Flicx pitches, kindly provided by Durant Cricket.
There were eight teams that took part in the cricket competition, including players from the community sessions delivered on site, a girls team, players from the local community faith groups and the local residents.
Teams took part in 8-a-side, pairs cricket matches, where everyone got the chance to bat and bowl. There were some hard fought fixtures and the girls team, who called themselves the Mumbai Ladies, narrowly missed out on a semi-final spot.
The semi-finals were contested between BTCL, Diu India, Mumbai Indians and Dev’s Destroyers. BTCL and Mumbai Indians ran out winners in their respective semi-finals, setting up a keenly contested final between two passionate teams.
The final was umpired by former Leicestershire CCC professional Jigar Naik, who witnessed some fantastic skills, with big-hitting and some excellent fielding on show in windy conditions.
It was a tight affair with Mumbai Indians batting first, setting BTCL a target of 212. The game was in the balance right through to the final over with BTCL needing to not lose wickets, having gone into the over with a lead of just one.
BTCL batsman Keval managed to see out the final over, sparking scenes of wild celebration from his team mates and supporters. BTCL were presented with their trophy and medals by Jigar Naik and representatives from the Royal Navy.
The celebrations ended with a slice of delicious cake and a Happy Diwali advent calendar along with the Royal Navy distributing cricket equipment to all participants involved throughout the day to encourage more play within their communities. A great day was had by all the cricketers, with some fantastic skills and teamwork on show throughout.
Leicestershire County Cricket Club Community Engagement Officer Amna Rafiq said: “It was fantastic to see the Diwali Cricket Festival being held for the second year running, and it was pleasing to see so many people from the local community come out and join in with festivities and play cricket.”
Lieutenant Commander Hannah MacKenzie Royal Naval Reserve, SO2 Diversity, NRCEE, said: “The Royal Navy were proud to support this fantastic event organised by Leicestershire County Cricket Club.
“Sport is a great way to promote teamwork and brings people together regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. Cricket also develops self-discipline, stamina, courage and a competitive spirit – all the same essential attributes people develop in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.
“It was great to see so many kids coming together to play cricket and celebrate Diwali, and I hope that they will keep on playing cricket with the Royal Navy Kwik Cricket sets that were given to all the players to take home.”