Worcestershire CCC will again play its part in celebrating Rainbow Laces alongside Stonewall this weekend.
The Worcestershire Rapids will be wearing the laces during Sunday’s Royal London One-Day Cup encounter with Middlesex at New Road (11am start).
It will be part of the ECB and the entire game of cricket coming together from July 30 to August 1 for a fourth year to celebrate LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) in cricket.
This year the activity will take in the One-Day Cup as well as matches in The Hundred.
Worcestershire Club Captain Joe Leach said: “The players and staff are in support of this important initiative and will be proud once again to wear the Rainbow Laces.
“It is important that the game is opened up to as many people as possible of all different communities, including LGBTQ+.
“The Rainbow Laces are a way of us as a team and as a club, and indeed all players and officials in cricket, backing a symbol for support of this initiative.”
Earlier this year, the ECB supported what was believed to be the first fully inclusive LGBTQ+ game of cricket – between Graces CC and Unicorns CC – and in September, the business will be represented in the march at London Pride.
ECB Chief Executive Officer Tom Harrison said: “I’m proud to see our game standing squarely behind inclusion.
“We’re driven by our desire to open up the game to as many people as possible. We want cricket to be a game for everyone, and we want the LGBTQ+ community to both feel welcome and able to be themselves in our sport.
“The rainbow laces and the rainbow stumps are a powerful symbol of support, and it’s good to see the players and the wider game reaffirming our desire to be a sport that everyone feels they can be involved in.”
England cricketer Lauren Winfield-Hill said: “Wearing laces is only a little thing – and it might not feel like much – but the fact that sport in England and Wales is so proud to stand alongside the LGBTQ+ community these days is such a huge step in the right direction.
“Too many kids grow up thinking they can’t really be themselves if they want to succeed in sport, and it leads to people not being honest and not being themselves. A weekend like Rainbow Laces is about saying to those people, you can be yourself and be a sportsperson.
“Cricket really should be for everyone, and hopefully, this weekend will help us continue that journey.”
Erin Williams, Sport Engagement Manager at Stonewall (she/her & they/them), said: “We’re delighted that the ECB is celebrating Rainbow Laces for the fourth time this summer.
“Sport has an incredible ability to bring us together, and it’s brilliant to see the dedication that the ECB has shown to LGBTQ+ inclusion over the years.
“This year saw the first fully inclusive LGBTQ+ game of cricket, between Graces CC and Unicorns CC, and we’re excited to see The Hundred matches throughout the summer. We’re proud to be working with the ECB to make cricket a game where everyone is free to play as themselves.”