Bopara hails Chance to Shine League

England's Ravi Bopara has praised the success of the indoor cricket league at UEL (pic: Martin Ricke

England's Ravi Bopara has praised the success of the indoor cricket league at UEL (pic: Martin Rickett/PA) - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

England star praises success of UEL-based tournament

Newham College have had a successful season at UEL Sportsdock

Newham College have had a successful season at UEL Sportsdock - Credit: Archant

Newham-born England and Essex cricketer Ravi Bopara has praised the success of the Chance to Shine Indoor League at the University of East London’s SportsDock.

Newham College won the title after recording nine successive wins and Bopara, a Chance to Shine ambassador and regular gym user at UEL, spoke of his delight at the tournament.

He said: “At a Chance to Shine event last week I spoke passionately about the talent in inner cities, this competition with the support of Chance2Shine is a great initiative to unearth such talent and more importantly another platform for passionate cricketers to showcase their skills and continue to play the game we love.

“It gives me great joy hearing about the success of the tournament and I’m very excited in seeing the next talent to represent Essex and hopefully England from the East London area.

Action from the latest indoor cricket fixtures at UEL's SportsDock

Action from the latest indoor cricket fixtures at UEL's SportsDock - Credit: Archant

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“Of course, as a Newham lad it makes me very happy to hear that a local college in Newham College won the tournament. Well done to them and all the colleges that participated.”

Newham College captain Mahattir Kaffurudeen was extremely proud of his team’s efforts in maintaining a 100 per cent record to claim the silverware.

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He said: “Our lads did very well and every player deserved to be a champion. Throughout the tournament we were unbeatable and did our best to retain our title.

“We are happy that we earned another trophy for the college and hope this continues for the outdoor season. Thanks to our coach (Zaheer Daleel) who worked us hard in every training session, which no doubt helped us to become victorious.”

Coach Daleel was delighted to see his side retain the trophy and said: “Going the season unbeaten is a brilliant feat, especially as consistency is so hard to achieve in sport.

“The UEL has really inspired my players and their development is so pleasing to see. The whole college has gone cricket mad and the players are like celebrities now!”

The tournament started in 2012, initially with just seven colleges at UEL’s £21miilon state-of-the-art community sports complex.

The success of the tournament is based around UEL students who have helped to drive it by volunteering in various roles and Director of Sport David Cosford added: “Congratulations to all the teams who played in the UEL Chance to Shine FE Indoor Cricket League this year, and especially to the eventual winners Newham College.

“This league goes from strength to strength each year and we are delighted that UEL SportsDock remains a good host.

“A special mention and recognition is also important to the UEL students this year Mohit Rohra, Ahmad Norharif and Scott Silver who have volunteered a tremendous amount of time and effort to help officiate, administer and support the matches, their help is invaluable.

“I would also like to thank Arfan Akram, our cricket co-ordinator, and Essex CCC for their continual support. I look forward to this league remaining as an annual calendar event at SportsDock and showcasing FE college students at University of East London.”

Head of Cricket Operations at Essex, Daniel Feist, expressed the importance of giving access routes and opportunities for young adults to play the wonderful game within inner-London.

He said: “Once again the UEL Chance to Shine League has shown that the game of cricket is alive and well in East London. The competition, in its third year, is now really starting to help us build a clear pathway for Cricket in Education from Primary up to University with the link with UEL.

“The competition has already assisted us in developing the pathway of these players with a wider range of formats and exit routes available. The link to Essex is as strong as ever, highlighted by a number of the players from the colleges having been invited to train with the Essex Academy over the winter. “We very much look forward to working with all the colleges and thank UEL again for all their hard work and support in providing this opportunity and joining the pathway together.

“We now look forward to seeing the colleges compete in the summer and continue to develop their passion with the game.”

Tournament co-ordinator Arfan Akram was more than pleased with how things panned out this season.

He said: “It was our most successful tournament to date, with local colleges from five local boroughs coming to one venue over 18 weeks.

“We also had our highest volume of participants with 129 young individuals taking part.

“Personally, I’d like to give a big thanks to Chance to Shine, who continue to support such initiatives and of course the student volunteers at UEL who have not only gained valuable experience, but helped to keep the tournament sustainable. I’m already excited about next season starting!”

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