Moray cricket continues into the winter
2013 has been an excellent year for the development of cricket throughout the Moray area. At the start of the year, youngsters were provided the opportunity to receive regular cricket coaching on a Sunday at Gordonstoun, which was led by Gordonstoun Head Cricket Coach, Ryan Denyer, ably supported by coaches from the Moray Cricket Association. These sessions are part of the Moray Cricket Development Centre which is a 5 year plan that has been put in place in partnership with the Baxters Foundation, Gordonstoun School and the Moray Cricket Association. These sessions attracted on average 50 youngsters which included a girls only group.
Following on from this, Moray Cricket Association then submitted a proposal for a Summer Squad coach to Cricket Scotland. This proposal was successful, which resulted in Level 2 cricket coach Neil Nicol, from Huntly, being recruited for this role. Throughout the Easter and early Summer period Neil and local cricket club coaches were delivering cricket coaching in the majority of the Moray Primary Schools to P5 pupils. Neil, himself, delivered coaching in 26 schools, reaching over 750 Children. These youngsters then participated in cricket festivals against neighbouring schools. The top teams from the local festivals then came together for the Moray Finals Festival which saw Applegrove Primary coming out victorious.
Applegrove Primary represented Moray in the National Festival in Perth in June, where they accounted for themselves very well by finishing 5th. The Moray team were commended for their sportsmanship, attitude and behaviour at this event.
Following discussions with Neil Nicol and the Moray Cricket Association, it was agreed that there was an abundance of talented junior cricketers in the area that were not involved at a local club. It was decided, due to some funding availability through the Summer Squad Coach Scheme, to set up 2 elite squads (1x boys; 1 x girls) in Moray to develop these talented youngsters. These elite squads have been training and competing throughout the Summer and Autumn. Approximately 50 youngsters were invited to the elite squads and, despite the lure of other sports and extra-curricular commitments over the past 4 months, the squads are continuing to attract 40 juniors. The Elite Squads have played matches against numerous teams across the North of Scotland and the girls squad recently travelled to Perth to participate in a festival where they all played extremely well, with a number of girls being tipped to reach the next level along the talent pathway.
Due to the success of the Elite Squads, Moray Cricket Association submitted a bid to 2014 Communities for funding to continue the Elite Squads through the Autumn and Winter period. The application was successful, which will ensure that the Elite Squads are retained and further developed over the Winter period, which is excellent for the future of cricket in the area as, often when Winter arrives, youngsters who play cricket go and play another sport or join another activity which could jeopardise their return to cricket the following year.
As well as the Elite Squad coaching, the Eadie Walls trophy has been taking place throughout the summer. The Eadie Walls trophy is a junior kwik cricket league where club junior sections come together several times through the summer to play against each other. This has again been a success as it is providing game opportunities to juniors, rather than simply receiving coaching at their clubs. The final Eadie Walls trophy date is Sun, 29th September at Cooper Park in Elgin.
Throughout the Summer, Sportscotland and Cricket Scotland as well as the Grampian Regional Sporting Partnership (made up of reps from Local Authorities, Colleges/Universities, Trusts) agreed to appoint a Cricket Club Development Manager for the North. Neil Cameron was appointed into this role back in June, which will provide even greater opportunities for the sport to develop in the North area. Neil, in his role, will be working very closely with the cricket clubs in Moray to support and guide them, where necessary, and to help them have a well structured, organised club that has opportunities for all ages and abilities, where possible.
Finally, the Moray Cricket Development Centre at Gordonstoun is now about to start its third year of operation. An introduction session has been organised to take place at the George Welsh Sports Centre, Gordonstoun on Sunday, 13th October. It is open to anyone within Primary 4 – Secondary 3 with the Under 10’s session running from 10.00-11.15am and the under 13s session running from 11:30am – 12:45pm. Registration will be taking place on the day and participants are simply requested to wear appropriate clothing for a coaching session and suitable indoor trainers. The session is free and will be followed by a series of Sunday coaching sessions throughout the winter at Gordonstoun. The coaching will again be delivered by Gordonstoun Head Cricket Coach, Ryan Denyer, and ably supported by Moray Cricket Association coaches. For further information on these sessions, contact the Sports Development team at The Moray Council on 01343 563657.
All of the above development work has been undertaken by a range of partners, including Active Schools and Sports Development within The Moray Council; the Moray Cricket Association; Gordonstoun and the Baxters Foundation, as well as all the local cricket clubs and coaches, many of whom have undertaken countless hours of voluntary work over the years to help develop the sport.