26 February, 2012
DUBAI, U.A.E., 26 February 2012: The Lord’s Taverners, an all-star team of cricket legends dedicated to giving disadvantaged children s sporting chance, is gearing up for its annual fixture in Dubai against Fly Emirates XI. Led by former England captain Mike Gatting, the UK side will line up on 2nd and 4th March at 7he Sevens against a team made up entirely of Emirates Group employees, from cabin crew to cargo handlers, pilots and ground-handling staff.
Gatting, who captained England 23 times, will be joined by other familiar faces from the cricketing world, including former England players Chris Adams, Vikram Solanki and Gareth Batty, as well as Zimbabwe’s Murray Goodwin, while British TV celebrity Chris Tarrant – host of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? – will also feature.
The teams – which will contest two sessions of play on both Friday (10:00 and 14:00) and Sunday (13:30 and 15:30) - last met in the shadow of Windsor Castle in the summer, with the Fly Emirates XI securing a victory, while in last year’s Dubai fixture the Lord’s Taverners won both matches.
“Fly Emirates is always up for the challenge and with a 14-7 lead in the series, it is no secret that we will be facing a stern test in Dubai,” said Gatting, who made 79 Test appearances for England. “We have a strong team though and I am sure the likes of Solanki and Goodwin will cause them problems and provide some quality entertainment for spectators.
“Promoting the game at a grassroots level is close to the hearts of all the Lord’s Taverners players so we are also looking forward to taking part in the activities that have been planned for local school children. Entry to 7he Sevens is free and with grassy banks overlooking the pitch it is ideal for families to bring a picnic and enjoy a day of top-class cricket,” added the batsman.
As part of the event, the Lord’s Taverners – in partnership with the ICC Global Cricket Academy - will be running a coaching clinic and signing session on 2nd March from 12:00, with all kids receiving an Emirates goody bag. The event - for children aged between six and 12 - is free, but with only 100 places available, parents must register at the Lord's Taverners page at www.urbanevents.ae. Also scheduled for the weekend is an under-13 exhibition match between Dubai College and Repton on 4th March at 12:00.
The trip will also features a glamorous gala dinner at the Meydan Hotel at 19:30 on 2nd March. The evening will be hosted by Tarrant and legendary film critic Barry Norman and will feature an auction – including signed merchandise and a host of other great lots – plus Miles Jupp, a rising star of British comedy who will be making his debut performance in the Middle East.
Emirates has a long-standing relationship with the Lord’s Taverners and its 2012 tour - which features a team visit to the Al Noor Centre for Children with Special Needs - will mark the ninth time the team has visited.
“The Lord’s Taverners is a world renowned sporting charity that does fantastic work for disadvantaged youngsters, especially through sport,” said Sir Maurice Flanagan - Executive Vice Chairman, Emirates Airline & Group. “Emirates is proud to once again be hosting great players who have also made a huge contribution to the game of cricket and continue to do so through their work with the Taverners.
“The Fly Emirates team will feature a number of very talented cricketers, including the captain and vice-captain of the UAE, so we will certainly be able to hold our own and contribute to a great weekend of cricket,” added Sir Maurice
Tickets for the gala dinner start from Dhs 450, which includes a three-course dinner, drinks and entertainment. Tickets can be booked by visiting www.urbanevents.ae or calling 04 445 6842.