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Saturday, 23 May 2015

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FORMER England cricket captain Paul Collingwood delivered an important message to schoolchildren in Acomb.

Paul Collingwood signs James Forster's shirt during a visit to Acomb First School.

The Durham skipper swung into action to tell youngsters at the village first school to play hard, but, most importantly, play fair.

The MCC Spirit of Cricket visit was a special treat organised by cricket charity Chance To Shine and delivered by Northumberland Cricket Board, Collingwood holding a Q&A sessions with pupils before joining in with games on the playground.

His aim was to inspire more children to play the game but mainly to encourage competition and fair play.

Collingwood said: “We want to get the message across to young children at an early age to respect the opposition, the umpire and your captain.

“But at the same time, we all want to win and that has got to be the important factor.

“It can be tough at times to lose and of course it is important to stress that there will be highs and lows in sport where one moment you can be elated and the next be very down.

“But somehow you have to control things and show respect to your opponent at all times.

“It is about enjoying the sport and being part of a team, and these are things that can teach youngsters great values in life.”

Chance to Shine, a national charitable campaign to get more children playing cricket, came in for particular praise from Shotley Bridge-born Collingwood who stressed the importance of grassroots cricket.

He said: “The overall thing is to get more people enjoying cricket and getting participation numbers up by showing that cricket can be fun.

“I think we are very lucky in the North-East because we have a very good club culture and children are always welcome to join them.”