Today's the day for the first David Shepherd Great Cricket Picnic at Blundell's

THE first David Shepherd Great Cricket Picnic is taking place at Blundell's School, Tiverton today.

The historic school - it dates back to 1604 - has offered its facilities to the David Shepherd Cricket Trust for a major fund-raising event.

While five teams of adults are involved in a round-robin tournament on the main cricket pitch at Blundell's, two youth games will be taking place on an adjoining pitch.

Organisers are inviting cricket lovers from all over Devon to go along to watch the cricket and take a packed picnic hamper too.

If the cricket grounds are ringed with families tucking into their picnic hampers, no one will be happier than Trust chairman Mark Ansell.

'I am sure the quality the cricket teams will play will be outstanding, but almost the biggest part of the day is the food, drink and company,' said Ansell, who is also chairman of North Devon CC and has put a team in.

'We really do want as many people as possible picnicking around the boundary and joining us for the Great Cricket Tea in the marquee at 5pm.

'Picnicking is a serious business, which is why we are offering a prize for the best hamper.

'If you are thinking of coming along to watch, invite friends and families to bring their hampers and enjoy the excellent surroundings of Blundell's School.'

There is no admission charge for spectators - and for anyone who forgets to pack enough in their hamper tea, coffee and cakes are on sale from the cricket pavilion all day.

There will be a break in play at 5pm for tea to be taken by the teams in a marquee on the ground.

Any spectators who want to sit down for tea can do so by handing over a fiver.

There is no alcohol on sale at the game, but spectators can take their own in a cool bag.

Matches are eight-a-side and are time limited to an hour each.

Five teams are taking part in the main event, including the Devon Disability squad.

The top two teams in the pool will play-off for a handsome trophy after tea.

The youth matches are and under-10s' game between Sandford and Heathcoat and a District under-nines' match between the South and the East.

The David Shepherd Cricket Trust remembers former Devon cricketer and Test match umpire David Shepherd, who died in 2009.

Its aim is to promote youth cricket at all levels through coaching support and other initiatives.

The money raised from entry fees for Sunday's tournament will be ploughed back into youth cricket.

Last year the Trust paid out more than £20,000 in grants to clubs, teams and individuals. Its recent kit offer to clubs - three youth helmets and a box of match balls for £50 - was full subscribed within days of being released.

The Trust relies on membership fees and fund-raising events to keep its work going.

To help the Trust, visit their website www.dsct111.org.uk and click joining and donating.