Topley's top tips for young cricketers

FORMER Essex player Don Topley gave primary school children from across the county a cricketing materclass at Orwell Park School recently.

Stuart Watson

By Stuart Watson

FORMER Essex player Don Topley gave primary school children from across the county a cricketing materclass at Orwell Park School recently.

The one time England player, who coaches at Holbrook's Royal Hospital School, was delighted to accept an offer from Orwell Park to come in a deliver a workshop for pupils aged 8-11 from a range of cricket backgrounds.

He said: “I very much enjoy working with this age group. At that age they are at a very impressionable stage and, as a coach, it is important to enthuse them.”

The day, which saw 36 children from various schools attend, was the idea of Orwell Park's registrar Jo Riddleston. She said: “At Orwell Park our pupils are very lucky in that they can play cricket four times a week at school, but children at other schools might not have such good access to the game.

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“As a result I sent out a letter to many of the local cricket clubs across the county inviting them to send any of their young players to our workshop.”

Topley added: “The day went very well. All of the children turned up full of anticipation and enthusiasm.

“We did some batting, bowling and fielding master classes in the morning, followed by two matches in the afternoon.

“Cricket is a difficult game in many respects. It requires an extremely high base level of skill just to have a game. Anyone can have a game of football together, no matter what their ability, but in cricket if you can't bowl straight you haven't got a game.

“That's why we are trying to give these young pupils a good base level of skill at a young age.”

Topley was aided on the day by his 14 year-old son Reece, a towering young left-arm swing bowler who is already on Essex Cricket Club's academy and representing the South of England.

“Not only is it good experience for Reece to coach at such a young age,” said Topley.

“But because he has very recently gone through a lot of the things that these youngsters have they can relate and look up to him.”

Riddleston added: “The day was such a success we are already looking to make it an annual event and, if we can, might squeeze another one in this summer.”

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