Anyone who has played cricket for even a short amount of time will know about those frustrating rain delays… and long breaks in play.

The lower-order batsman hanging around waiting to put the pads on – an issue less relevant at The Wick.

However, Mark Boyns – who set up Opening Up Cricket – believes it’s these breaks that sets cricket apart as one of the best sports for promoting and maintaining good mental health.

Mark founded the charity in 2014 after his friend and Sefton Park CC team-mate Alex Miller took his own life.

Since then, Mark and his team of volunteers have delivered hundreds of sessions to cricket clubs across the UK and abroad.

Their message is about promoting mental wellbeing and raising awareness of good mental health.

Mark kindly took some time out to talk to us about why cricket is such a valuable sport for keeping the mind happy and healthy.

And while they may seem annoying at the time – Mark believes those pesky rain delays are one of the main benefits to playing our beautiful game.

“The length of cricket games – even the shorter formats – gives you the opportunity to spend more time with people.

“There are naturally long periods where you’ll be sat there talking – tea, during rain breaks or while you’re waiting to bat.

“This gives us the space and time to have conversations. These could be about nothing in particular but they give us the potential to build friendships and close bonds within a team.”

Mark also highlights other aspects of cricket that have benefits to mental health awareness and resilience.

“Cricket is very much a game where you’re responding to changing situations.

“Whether it’s keeping on top a run rate, building an innings, or setting the right fields – cricket helps build the mental skills to deal with these situations.

“And a huge part of this is team work – cricket is very much a sharing experience.”

Cricket also offers a huge range of opportunities for people to start in the game – or to keep involved as the years start to catch up.

Mark points out: “There are so many different aspects to cricket and opportunities for people within club settings – playing, coaching, scoring, umpiring, working the bar, making teas, organising events and tours.”

You can find out more about then great work Opening Up Cricket does here: