Royal London, the UK’s largest mutual life and pensions provider, will once again show its commitment to the ACE Programme partnership by sharing naming rights for the 1st ODI between England and India on July 12th.
The fixture, to be played at The Kia Oval, will be officially renamed the ‘Royal London x ACE One Day International’ and is the first fifty-over game of the highly anticipated July series.
The ACE programme, set up in 2020 by former England and Surrey cricketer Ebony Rainford-Brent, has the express mission of ‘supporting diverse talent from the grassroots to the elite.’
To date, ACE has trialled hundreds of young people, launched its own academy and given out 110 scholarships.
Originally set up by Surrey County Cricket Club, the success of the programme is such that it is now an independent charity and has expanded from London to cover both Birmingham and Bristol, with plans in the works to expand even further.
Through their Elite Academy, ACE provides elite academy programmes and scholarships to talented players to allow them to fulfil their potential.
Lucky scholars from that programme will play an integral part in the game on July 12th, with young Nathan Richards ringing the bell and joining the teams pitch side for the coin toss.
Nathan will then join the rest of their group for the guard of honour before the ACE programme team play a game of cricket themselves on the Kia Oval pitch during the innings break.
Susie Logan, group chief marketing officer at Royal London, said: “Since helping the ACE Programme expand into Bristol last year, we’re immensely proud to continue with our support. By gifting the ODI naming rights, we hope to raise awareness of the great work the ACE Programme has been doing to make cricket more inclusive and accessible to young people from black communities.”
Ebony Rainford Brent, Chair at ACE Programme said: “I am delighted that Royal London are continuing to show the ACE programme so much support. Our mission remains to inspire the wider game to become more representative of society and the visibility an England ODI provides is a perfect platform to spread that message.”
Clare Connor, ECB Interim Chief Executive Officer said: “ We’re proud to have been able to support the ACE Programme, which is breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for youngsters who didn’t have them before. It’s great that Royal London are continuing its support for the programme and for making cricket more inclusive. It’s exciting to see some really talented girls and boys already emerging through ACE, and maybe one day we’ll see some of them pulling on an England shirt.”
Steve Elworthy, CEO at Surrey County Cricket Club said: “It is a source of great pride for everyone at Surrey Cricket to see the growth of the ACE Programme. What Ebony has built is truly inspiring and we’re excited to be able to host the Royal London x ACE Programme One Day International at The Kia Oval. The work ACE does to improve inclusivity in cricket is invaluable and it’s great to see them go from strength to strength.”