Suffolk cricket nets state school bonus

Suffolk's cricket clubs are already benefiting from a scheme that aims to uncover previously undiscovered talent in state schools with little tradition in the sport.

Stuart Watson

By Stuart Watson

Suffolk's cricket clubs are already benefiting from a scheme that aims to uncover previously undiscovered talent in state schools with little tradition in the sport.

For years cricket has often been the poor relation to football and rugby in the majority of the nations state schools, with county cricket sides traditionally dominated by students from the private education sector.


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All that could be about to change however with the continued success of the Cricket Foundation's 'Chance to Shine' project.

Launched after the 2005 Ashes, 'Chance to Shine' set about forging links between local clubs and their surrounding state schools across the country.

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Last week, coaches from Copdock & Old Ipswichians, Ipswich, St Margarets and Ipswich & East Suffolk Cricket Clubs, kick started the third year of the scheme in Suffolk, running an introductory session for state school pupils at Ipswich School.

Suffolk's ECB Cricket Development Manager Michael Kay said: “The overall aim is to generate more cricket in state schools, the by product of which hopefully being that clubs will end up with more players.

“This is just as much about the education of teachers. You find that the state schools that do deliver cricket well often rely on one teacher that is passionate about the sport.

“I can't imagine that we have seen every single potential cricket player in the past because there hasn't been the opportunities there for every child to try the game.

“Already over the three years we have seen participation in this county rise by 130% which is massive. Last we year we ran Chance to Shine in four areas of Suffolk, this year we have extended it to six.

“If the best eleven players for the junior county sides come from private schools they will be selected, if the best eleven come from state schools they will be selected, if they are from a mixture of both, the same.

“We just want the county and district sides to be able to pick from the widest possible pool of talent. Ultimately we want more players from Suffolk progressing into the first class game.”

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