Mediterranean links for Lancashire as director of cricket Mike Watkinson launches community hub scheme

By Ross McLean

Red Rose director of cricket Mike Watkinson is keen for Lancashire to show the club is firmly rooted in the Greater Manchester and international community through ‘The Lancashire Way’.

The Emirates Old Trafford will host more than 3,000 schoolchildren from across the North West on day two of next week’s LV=County Championship match against Essex.

This event is part of the on-going project to promote inclusivity and raise cricket participation levels across the region, initiatives Watkinson believes are key in proving the club is community-orientated.

“This open day will show that Lancashire County Cricket Club is officially open to the community and that cricket is a game suitable for everyone,” he said.

“Lancashire County Cricket Club, LCCC Foundation and Lancashire Cricket Board are delighted to welcome all communities to experience the Lancashire Way at Emirates Old Trafford during a First Class match.”

The Lancashire Way is a joint project which the club, LCCC Foundation and the Lancashire Cricket Board are undertaking throughout 2013.

And as well as watching Lancashire’s clash with Essex, the children will also take part in physical and educational fun in a specially created Activity Zone.

Prizes will also be on offer throughout the day including coaching sessions at the Indoor Cricket Centre, Thunderbolts membership and signed merchandise.

Meanwhile, Lancashire’s cricket ties with the island of Cyprus are being strengthened through a deal with Cheadle Hulme-based company, Aejis.

This will see Lancashire Lightning wear the logo of the Cyprus Tourist Organisation on their shirts for the duration of the Yorkshire Bank 40 competition.

And Lancashire’s Business Development Manager Warren Hegg believes the partnership will deliver tangible benefits for all parties.

“Geoff Durbin, our Commercial Director, and myself started talking very informally with Bob Evans (Aejis founder) about Cyprus and the challenges they are currently facing,” he said.

“We mentioned our shirt sponsorship opportunity, never really thinking that two such different entities could somehow come together. However, it is amazing what can happen when you talk!

“We are delighted to be helping remind people that Cyprus remains a fantastic tourist destination and off the field, we will also work together to explore opportunities that will see Cyprus benefit from the Lancashire Way.”

Lancashire all-rounder Andrea Agathangelou is the first player of Cypriot descent to feature in English first-class cricket and is proud the club will be generating links with the Mediterranean island.

“I am very proud of my Cypriot heritage and naturally I am delighted that Lancashire County Cricket Club is helping to showcase such a beautiful tourist destination,” he said.

“I also look forward to promoting cricket in Cyprus with the rest of the squad when the opportunities arise.”

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