The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation (YCF) celebrated the holy month of Ramadan with a special event that brought together the community in the spirit of friendly competition, sportsmanship, and inclusivity. The event, held at Wakefield Football Centre on Saturday, 25 March, was a great success, with teams from Bradford, Hull, Kirklees, Leeds, Rotherham, and Sheffield participating in the games.

‘Check-in With Your Mate’ has partnered up with YCF to raise awareness of the risk factors that may lead to suicide, inspiring people to start conversations, about mental health with the men in their life at home, in the community and at work, as well as signposting to local support. All the participants received a ‘Check-in with Your Mate’ free goodie bag!

Sohail Raz, Diverse Communities Manager for YCF, who organised the community competition, said: “At the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, we believe that cricket has the power to bring people together, regardless of their background or beliefs. That’s why we organised the Ramadan Cup, to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan and to promote greater understanding and respect between people of different communities. The event was a great success, with people from all backgrounds coming together to compete in the tape ball tournament, break their fast together, and enjoy delicious food. We hope that this event will inspire others to come together and celebrate the diversity of our community, and we look forward to organising similar events in the future. It was also great to have Kabir and Azhar at the event and share their experiences, with the community, of their time playing through the month of Ramadan.”

The theme of “Play – Pray – Eat together” set the tone for the day, with the first round of games starting at 3:45 pm on four pitches. Bradford Malangs beat Hull Royals, Bradford Swat defeated Kirklees Kings 11, Leeds Strikers emerged victorious against Sheffield Steelers, and Kirklees PB won against Rotherham Rangers in the first round.

The four teams that won the first round advanced to the Cup Semis, while the losing teams played in the Shield Semis. Both the Cup Semis and Shield Semis started at 4:30 pm, with Bradford Swat winning against Bradford Malangs in the Cup Semi-final 1 and Kirklees PB defeating Leeds Strikers in the Cup Semi-final 2. Meanwhile, Kirklees Kings 11 won against Hull Royals in Shield Semi-final 1, and Sheffield Steelers beat Rotherham Rangers in Shield Semi-final 2.

Maroof Khan, Director of Business Development at YCCC, said: “I mean creating awareness is very important as Ramadan is not only about refraining from food which a lot of people sometimes think, but also about self-discipline, focusing on spirituality and building God-consciousness. I think for Yorkshire to do this in this capacity getting people together, especially in the holy month of Ramadan, where they have the opportunity to play, pray and have a feast together is brilliant. It’s been a great day and something to look forward to every year”.

Everyone at the venue gathered for Maghrib Prayers at 6:31 PM

The games continued after the Asr prayer at 5:20 pm, with the Cup final and Shield final taking place. The atmosphere was electric as Bradford Swat emerged victorious against Kirklees PB in the Cup final, becoming the 2023 Ramadan Tape ball Cup Champions. In the Shield final, Kirklees Kings 11 defeated Sheffield Steelers, making them the 2023 Ramadan Tape ball Shield Champions.

Mo Hussain, EDI Manager at YCCC, said: “Days like this remind us about coming together, learning from each other regardless of backgrounds and it sets a nice tone at the start of the Ramadan for the rest of the month, which is quite nice. And as you can see there’s plenty of lads here playing and enjoying the day.

The presentation started at 6:15 pm, with Mohammad Azharullah (High Performance Coach at YCCC) and Kabir Ali (Assistant Coach at YCCC) as chief guests. The winners of the Cup and Shield were announced, followed by the Maghrib prayer at 6:31 pm. After the prayers, everyone gathered at the hall at 6:45 pm to break their fast together. The YCF provided a variety of delicious food for everyone to enjoy, including dates, fruits, and traditional Ramadan dishes.

Winners of the day, Bradford Swat – Ramadan Tape ball Cup Champions 2023

Kabir Ali explained how he used to maintain his diet during his playing days throughout the Ramadan period: “In the morning of the match, we used to have plenty of carbs such as bananas, pasta, oats, and things like that. We just tried to refill our bodies with the right foods really to make sure we had enough energy for the day. Plenty of fluids on board too. I think that sets you for the day.”

When asked how difficult it is to play cricket whilst fasting? He also added: “Mentally you have to be quite strong. The first couple of days are difficult but then once your body gets used to it, it becomes quite simple. It’s quite easy but like I mentioned having the correct foods is the key”.

Mohammad Azharullah said: I played a lot of tape ball cricket back home and it’s nice to see that the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation have brought this game to the communities who will be familiar with it and engage well but also giving opportunities to others as well. The short, sharp games work well in Ramadan so it’s a thumbs up from me.”

Staff enjoying the delicious Iftaar meal.

The event was a testament to the power of sports in bringing people together and promoting unity and inclusivity. YCF’s efforts to celebrate the event through sports were greatly appreciated and received positive feedback from the participants and attendees. The event highlighted the importance of community engagement and sportsmanship, showing that the spirit of competition can be combined with the spirit of camaraderie to create a memorable and meaningful event.

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