Essex open their doors for local kids Over 450 school children from across Essex had the opportunity of a lifetime earlier this week (18 March) as Essex Cricket opened their doors for schools to come and watch the professionals in a pre-season training session. The children attending the day had a unique opportunity to watch the First XI players get put through their paces in fielding sessions and were also given a mini warm up session with Essex mascot Eddie the Eagle. As part of the day the pupils were given cross curricular activity packs to complete during the training and a special meet and greet opportunity with their favourite players. The day was celebrating Essex County Cricket Board's improved local investment into schools within Essex and Metropolitan Boroughs thanks to further support from the Cricket Foundation's Chance to Shine campaign. Commenting on the day, Essex Cricketer Tim Phillips said, "It was a different experience for us training with over 400 children watching and it was a good atmosphere for all and I hope they enjoyed their day." "It is vital for children to start playing cricket at an early age, giving them a healthier lifestyle while also helping them improve in skills they will use as they get older. "Hopefully we managed to inspire some children to try cricket and come and watch us play throughout the season." Chris Drummond, Essex Cricket Educational Development Officer said, "Cricket is unique, in that it offers more than just physical activity. Through our new Education Strategy we are hoping to work alongside Chance to Shine schools to adopt a cross curricular message through the MCC Spirit of Cricket. We have some fantastic head teachers, teachers and school game organisers here in Essex, who understand the benefits of physical activity and benefits it can bring to schools.