On Sunday, May 23, Weoley Hill CC in south-west Birmingham will host a very special cricket match – the debut outing of the Birmingham Unicorns. Club founder Lachlan Smith explains why it’s a date for all LGBTQ+ sports fans’ diaries…
Lachlan Smith is the founder and chair of Birmingham Unicorns Cricket Club.
Birmingham Unicorns, our new LGBTQ+-inclusive cricket club, started as a kernel of an idea I had at the tail end of the first Covid-19 lockdown in summer 2020.
Having played as an out gay man at a club in south Birmingham for a number of years, I felt like more of the LGBTQ+ community should be encouraged to take part and get involved in cricket.
It’s not only a great way to exercise, meet new people and play a team sport, but it can have a really positive impact on mental health as well.
Like many gay men, I gave up cricket in my early twenties, believing it couldn’t be a game for me. However, having rekindled my love for playing and getting out on the park again during the last eight years, I wanted to find a way to share cricket more widely and open it up to the LGBTQ+ community.
As such, I set out to create only the second LGBTQ+inclusive club in the country, after Graces Cricket Club in London.
Starting out on the journey, I hoped there would be enough interest, and following a survey with the community and some conversations and help from Graces, Pride Sports, and Birmingham LGBT, I had at least 20 people interested in either playing or helping out.
This was more than I had hoped, and the journey began in earnest. We needed to take an idea and turn it into a club – so this is where the hard work really began!
We started meeting as a group over Zoom during the winter and by March, we had formally constituted as a club and the Birmingham Unicorns Cricket Club was born.
‘The more people who want to get involved, the better’
We are starting out small this year with eight fixtures and I’m grateful to the support of Weoley Hill Cricket Club who have offered us the use of their second ground to play our matches.
Our first match, on Sunday, May 23, will be an all LGBTQ+ affair as we host Graces (starts 1pm). We believe this is the first all-LGBTQ+ cricket match in the world, which is really exciting for the community and the sport.
We have had invaluable ongoing support from the Warwickshire Cricket Board, the ECB, and our main sponsor, the Cricket Supporters’ Association, which has been brilliant.
The club has been well received more broadly too, with a number of people messaging us with well wishes and different promotional opportunities arising as well.
We are excited to be on the cusp of something new which can help change the face of cricket. We know it’s a great sport but like many sports, LGBTQ+ people don’t always feel at home in cricket. As a club, we really want to change that.
Being inclusive of all of our community is essential for us and we want to cater for all playing abilities too. We have some experienced current cricketers but also have new players too who have never tried the sport before. The more people who want to get involved and play or watch, the better.
We encourage anyone who is interested to know more, or who wants to play, to get in touch. We can be found at @bhamunicorns on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – or you can check out our website at bhamunicorns.co.uk.
You can also get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to Lachlan Smith.
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