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Volunteer In Focus: John Wells

This month's Volunteer In Focus is John Wells, who spoke about his World Cup Cricketeers story and his involvement in cricket over the years.

So John, lets start with a cricket match you played in the desert, tell us more…

I was in the Royal Air Force for 36 years and spent some time in Qatar. On the down days we tried to keep active and it was suggested we have our own mini “Ashes” against the Australian Air Force. The game took place in a gym on an American airbase, and I don’t think the Americans had any idea of what was going on, but it was great fun. That said, unfortunately we lost to the Aussies!

Have you volunteered in cricket before? Why do you think it’s important and what do you enjoy about it?

I volunteered at Lord’s in 2004 when England took on the West Indies, although this will be my first major competition. I’ve volunteered at all of my previous cricket clubs in various capacities; in the 70s I learnt how to score and helped out at local matches.

I also gained my Level 2 ECB qualification about 15 years ago and this has allowed me to help some of the younger upcoming players at Ramsey CC, my local club. I think giving something back to the sport and helping the younger generation coming through is really important. Away from cricket, I’m also a keen birdwatcher and volunteer when I can in conservation and ornithology.

Where will you be volunteering during the tournament and what team are you in?

I attended the Trent Bridge Run Up session in early March and found it really interesting. In the morning session I put my hand up to explain to the rest of the Cricketeers how the teams qualified for the tournament and I was pleased to see everyone got the answer correct in the quiz at the end… I must have explained it reasonably well!

I’ll be a part of the Accreditation team at Trent Bridge and I really enjoyed meeting the team and learning more about the role from Sarah Araujo. I think we’ve got a good mix in our team, some experience and some fresh faces so I’m really looking forward to the challenge.

With England and Wales hosting the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, do you think it can impact the younger generation of players?

I think the tournament being in England and Wales will captivate the imagination of everyone, but in particular the youngsters. Witnessing the excitement about the place will hopefully attract and inspire a new generation to play the game. The importance of the tournament and also role models who will emerge from the tournament can’t be underestimated. Charlotte Edwards (Ex-England captain and World Cup Cricketeers Ambassador) used to play at Ramsey CC and I saw how she helped develop the women’s game. I think this tournament could have a similar kind of impact across the country, and I’m hoping it will bring in new talent of youngsters at my current club; Houghton and Wyton CC in the Huntingdonshire.

With only two months to go until the tournament starts, which team do you think are looking good to lift the trophy?

Well I’d like to say England, but I think Australia and India will push us to the wire. I also think that the West Indies might cause a few upsets, but it’ll all depend on whether teams can get rid of Chris Gayle before he finds his rhythm.

Before we leave you, any plans for another match in the desert?

Nothing in the pipeline, but never say never!

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