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Runs on the board & the Grey Fox Trophy

— 15 July 2010

Am artists’ celebration of those still playing the game aged 50+

If you are over fifty and play cricket in Yorkshire – a new team of artists are about to capture your love of the game.  Poet Andrew McMillan, photographer Anton Want and the Artists known as The Curious Guide will spend the rest of the season lurking round the region’s cricket grounds in search of players still mad and passionate enough to drag their creaking bones onto the pitch.

They have been appointed by Runs on the Board, part of imove, Yorkshire’s cultural programme for the 2012 Olympics.  Over the next two years the artists will work throughout the region, and eight teams of 50+ cricketers will play for The Grey Fox Trophy, in a limited over competition.  Yorkshire Cricket Club are right behind the idea and will host the final next season at Headingley Carnegie Cricket Ground, the real home of cricket.

The artists’ celebration of those players, men and women, who have ‘runs on the board’ will be displayed on Yorkshire’s big screens, projected onto buildings, printed for buses and bus stops, and shared through the internet.”

The man behind the idea, Graham Roberts, says, “Runs on the Board has captured the imagination of everyone and I am delighted that imove, Yorkshire County Cricket Club and BBC Yorkshire are offering their support. With their help we will make the celebration of over 50s cricket in Yorkshire a massive success. It will be a great pleasure to work with the team of talented artists and see them capture the spirit of cricket and a produce a really creative celebration of the many older players who still love and play the game.”

Barnsley poet Andrew McMillan says, “This commission combines my passions for sport, poetry and telling the stories of real people. Each of the remarkable over-50’s cricket players will have their own story to tell, their own fascinating history.”

Silkstone based photographer Anton Want will be swapping the San Siro and the Bernabeu for sleepy village grounds.  A top sports photographer, what attracts him to Runs on the Board is, “The opportunity to capture an elusive element of Yorkshire’s identity. Not for nothing does Dickie’s index finger greet drivers as they roll past Barnsley Town Hall or Fiery Fred’s bowling action, frozen moments after releasing the ball, grace Skipton’s Canal Basin.”

Artist team The Curious Guide – Rob Young and Tim Sutton -  will design The Grey Fox Trophy, they have ideas, but they are still firmly under the covers.  What appeals to them about the project? “The sheer sassiness of it. We defy anyone not to smile at an award that honours what we British do best (throw balls at each other), a game once described as “chess made flesh”.  As we both approach the age of 50 (not out) we feel that we can bring a youthful element to the proceedings.”

imove Producer Steve Dearden see Runs on the Board “As a perfect example of what we are trying to do: explore the relationship between people and their moving bodies through exciting and innovative arts and sports projects.”