Natwest Cricket Force Showcase Event at Addington CC

Addington CC

I first came across the Cricket Factory Roadshow concept a few years ago when we were allocated a visit for the celebrations of the 300th Anniversary of Town Malling Cricket Club which also included a fixture against the Lashings World XI. This event was also organised in conjunction with a MENCAP come and try it opportunity. This was repeated at a location in Canterbury in 2009, also organised by MENCAP. Both events proved very popular, well supported and the Cricket Factory was very much the focus of attraction.

From the Roadshow event experience we became aware that there was a wider need to support the delivery of fundamental skills during our coaching programmes and to have the ability to use such bright coloured and flexible equipment ourselves in a club or schools environment. The KCB were subsequently given some Cricket Factory Skill Sets to pilot on our various delivery programmes including the new venture into disability cricket provision and talent identification.

The opportunity was taken at the 2010 Kent Flagship CricketForce event at Addington Village CC to demonstrate the equipment with Hugh Robertson MP – then the Shadow Minister for Sport and the Olympics and now carrying this portfolio – and other VIPs in attendance. Subsequently the equipment has been shown and made available to the Kent District Cricket Development Officers at one of their meetings.

I have used the skills set located at Addington for club seedlings (4 -7) activity and for key stage 1&2 delivery in schools. It has an effective impact in providing the interest levels and enthusiasm to participate in cricket across the spectrum of abilities and is an excellent tool when used as a cricket based skills circuit.

Q & A with Clair Gould

Where the kit has been used throughout the summer?
Beach Cricket with Lydia Greenway and girls cricket – televised on BBC Politics show.
Mencap Sports Day in Thanet with LD use.
LD day at KCCC with LD use – ECB TV coverage/ECB photographer in attendance.
AVCC use for club and school cricket training and in Tonbridge and Malling District.
Les Randall use in LD cricket delivery across County.
District Development Officer meeting demonstration event to show case equipment and benefits to inclusive cricket use.
Community Coach in LD School Sports Day Delivery.

What age range have the ECB Cricket Factory Skill Sets been used with?
Various age groups from Years 4 upwards in state primary schools to Vulnerable Adults.

Boys / girls?
Both with some emphasis on a Girls project at Beach Cricket with Lydia Greenway.

Who has borrowed the kit?
Community Coach delivery in SLD schools to add variety and support to delivery all day in school.
LD Coach delivering across County.
Club on Beach Cricket C2s National Cricket Day project.

Thoughts for use throughout the Winter?
Indoor cricket festivals for LD cricket.

Use in Education?
Through mainly primary school activity and at school festivals

Key impact values?
Provides visual impact/attraction to participant.
Broadens participants interest and creates longer interaction
Supports coach to deliver sessions of impact to skill sets of broad ability participants with relative ease
Provides growth in participants confidence with participants of limited ability.
Provides growth in coaches delivery by enabling achievement for participant and therefore achievement for coach, growing coaches confidence to encourage greater engagement and activity.
Enables coach to engage teachers or adult support to be actively involved in sessions.

Feedback / Comments
Excellent idea and principle of colours/materials/visual impact.
Strengths are visual:
Impact through colour
Accessory to coaches sessions to create greater value and fun.
Support to enable wider engagement of bigger group
Enables achievement for all levels
Engages teachers/helpers with greater enthusiasm

Learning Disability Day at Kent County Ground

On a bright and glorious summer’s day, Kent County Ground and Kent Cricket Board were hosts of the above event to a variety of special needs schools and centres. A number of activities took place including the Cricket Factory which was assembled alongside the ground.

A crowd of youngsters quickly gathered to view the equipment and marvelled at the variety of activities on offer in which they were warmly welcomed to participate in. The Cricket Factory supervisors and Kent Cricket Board staff encouraged and praised each individual’s efforts. With such a reception each participant quickly rushed back to join the queues for another turn. The response from them was infectious as their inhibitions dissolved and confidence grew.

Amongst the popular pieces of equipment was the bowling blue box with the marked white stumps in which participants needed to bowl through a hole at the front to hit the stumps marked at the back. One young man managed to hit the stumps at the very first attempt and he was thrilled with his achievement. With our added praise he went on to repeat this success several times and this in turn encouraged others to try with his support.

Another successful piece was the box with the net fitted across the top in which two players can bounce a ball to each other and practice their catching skills. Some participants began to set their own records as we counted the amount of bounces. Once they reached double figures, determination reigned supreme as they aimed to improve on their total bounce record.

It was wonderful to see how the youngsters responded so warmly and enthusiastically to the equipment and our praise. Their skills in catching, bowling and throwing improved rapidly throughout the afternoon. The equipment really does allow cricket to be more accessible to all, regardless of age and ability. The bright colours and padded fittings make it attractive and appealing to youngsters. This certainly proved the case on that day in July.

Les Randall Interview

Les Randall, current assistant coach of the England Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD) team
and a qualified teacher, divides his time between working in schools and preparing his England side for their next international tournament, a dual role he cherishes.

“I first became involved in coaching the national squad a couple of years ago,” he said. “My son Gavin has learning difficulties and he is currently the captain of the England MLD team. “I have worked closely with people with disabilities for about 12 years now and it’s something I am very passionate about.”

“I use the Cricket Factory Fundamentals Set with a group of children with severe learning difficulties at one of my local primary schools,” said Les, who lives in Portsmouth. “Whenever the children see me with the kit their little faces just light up. The equipment is very colourful so they recognise it straight away. It’s a real privilege for me to share it with them and I’m amazed at what they do with it.”

The Fundamental Skills Set has proved equally popular in the mainstream schools setting, and Les is keen for other coaches to experience the benefits for themselves.

He revealed: “When I first got the kit I took it to an under nines session at the local club. I just set it up, threw some balls out and let the kids work it out for themselves. You’d be amazed at the things they came up with.

It’s the same with the disability groups in schools – they are very creative.

One of the items is called the Drill Cube, and the kids have endless fun with it. The cube has a target side, another face with a cut-out circular hole and a springy catching net on top. The able bodied children crawl through the hole, while those in the wheelchairs push a ball from one side to the other – it’s a massive achievement for some of them to do that, and a very humbling experience to watch.”

Utilising the Cricket Factory equipment has helped Les endorse the sport he loves while attempting to share it with the widest possible audience. In March this year he was approached by the Kent Cricket Board to spearhead its ‘Inclusive Project’, a five-month schools coaching programme aimed at raising the profile of disability cricket within the County. The project culminated in a talent identification day, and the formation of both hard and soft ball teams that will represent Kent in the British Association for Cricketers with Disabilities (BACD) League from 2011.

“They asked me to work on the Inclusive Project, and over the following few months I delivered coaching to 17 different schools in the county, using tools like the Cricket Factory Fundamentals Set.

It was a big success, and with the teams now ready to enter the BACD competition, hopefully the sport will continue to grow in Kent as a result.”

For further information please contact:

Clair Gould, Director of Operations
Office: 01227 456886 x259

Andy Griffiths, Cricket Development Manager
Office: 01227 473618