FORMER England Cricket Captain Mike Gatting – who has taken tea at matches all over the world – can now add an “incredible, extraordinary, and quite spectacular” experience to his list of memories.
At £36,000 a pot, the man who captained England 23-times and is a former President of the MCC had just enjoyed the ultimate – and without doubt the world’s most expensive – cricket tea. If two cricket teams and the umpires were to sit down to enjoy their pots of the steaming Golden Bengal Tea between innings, it would have set the squads back just £36,000 – or £1,500 a cup.
The tea, which is from a single plantation in Sylhet, Bangladesh, was one of several at a tasting of rare, exotic teas sampled during a tasting for the Capital Kids Cricket (CKC) provided by one of its trustees, Aliur Rahman, CEO of the London Tea Exchange. Shahidul Alam Ratan, CEO of CKC, joked it was the “ultimate and supreme tea… the world’s most expensive and refined tea – but not one likely ever to challenge the weekend cricketing brew we are all used to.’
Fittingly, the tasting took place between matches on a corporate day at the Wormsley Cricket Ground in Buckinghamshire to promote CKS – a charity which aims to regenerate cricket in schools and the wider community. Considered one of the most beautiful cricket grounds in Britain, Wormsley was built by the late philanthropist and cricket lover Sir Paul Getty. His widow, Lady Victoria Getty, Chief Patron of the charity, had staged a festival for boys and girls aged under 13 at the ground. Founded more than 30-years ago, the charity has introduced hundreds of thousands of children to cricket and team sport and annually stages Britain’s biggest cricket festival in East London.
Mike Gatting, who went to school in Willesden, North London, said the charity provided children with a chance to develop and learn, putting the emphasis on teams, not gangs. “’It gives the kids a chance to be better people, the chance to be someone they may not have been, it is so important and it is done through cricket,” he said. “It makes a lot of difference (in communities), we hear a lot about knife gangs and we want to get the kids out of those gangs and into teams learning to make friends, be better people and to have fun.”
Haydn Turner, the Chair of CKC, addressed participants, saying, “All of you are lucky to play in this iconic ground and thanks to Lady Getty for the opportunity. Also, we are very fortunate because you are participating in the most expensive English cricket tea event the world is ever seen!”
At the Wormsley festival, clubs for under 13 boys took part from CricFitsorts (a combined Newham, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets add Redbridge Club), Stoke Newington CC (Hackney) and London Tigers CC (Southall, Ealing). CriFitSports won the competition with a brilliant 103 from Ayush Baluja from the under 12s.
CEO Shahidul Alam Ratan said, “Our thanks to the sponsors – Moogsoft, British Land, Pure Storage, HCL, Lady Getty’s team, and CKC – who also took part in fundraising games. He added, “’I would also like to thank Wormsley management and staff for their support throughout both days.”
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