"This sponsorship builds on our existing sporting pledge to help the experts to see and hear."
Graham Howard-Spink, Specsavers audiologist
Specsavers representatives from Manchester carried out hearing and vision screening tests on last season’s three cup-winning England Cricket Board champions during a launch event on March 30th.
To celebrate Specsavers recently becoming the title sponsor of the County Championship, Una Martin, optometrist and director of Specsavers in Eccles, and Graham Howard-Spink, audiologist at the Manchester Fort branch attended the launch event at Emirates Old Trafford.
Specsavers has been the ECB’s official optometry and hearing partner, and principal partner of the Association of Cricket Officials since 2014. The green ellipses currently feature on clothing worn by umpires officiating in all three county competitions and on clothing worn by ACO-appointed umpires in a range of club and junior cricket competitions nationwide.
Andrew Gale from Yorkshire (Specsavers County Championship winners), Steven Croft from Lancashire (NatWest T20 Blast winners) and Gareth Roderick from Gloucestershire (Royal London One-Day Cup Winners) – as well as Sky Sports cricket presenter Tim Abraham each had their eyes and ears tested by Una and Graham during the event.
Mr Howard-Spink says: ‘This sponsorship builds on our existing sporting pledge to help the experts to see and hear. We’re delighted with the levels of exposure we have achieved through our existing relationship with umpires and this is a great way for us to reach out to an even bigger audience of cricket fans nationwide and be a part of one of the game’s most famous and best-loved competitions.’
Una Martin adds: ‘Ball sports like cricket clearly require excellent vision. For those that are short or longsighted, contact lenses are very suitable for contact sport. Daily disposables are ideal as you get a fresh pair out of the pack each time, which gives the clearest vision. They are also pliable and soft which makes them easy to get used to, comfortable to wear and have the added bonus for sportswear in that they are not easily dislodged.’
Alongside its sponsorship, Specsavers will also be running The Specsavers One to Watch Award throughout the season to recognise up-and-coming cricketers in the championship. Open to any players aged 23 or under on 10 April 2016 (first day of Specsavers County Championship season), and who are yet to play for England or England Lions, the initiative will recognise those who make the most eye-catching impact on the Specsavers County Championship. With players shortlisted over the course of the championship and judged by a panel comprising England Pathway coaching staff and county input, an overall winner will be presented the Specsavers One to Watch trophy at the end of the season.