At Aylsham St Giles Cricket Club a key objective in the further development of our youth section is to provide hard ball coaching, kit and equipment for 10 – 13 year olds.
Our project aims to secure the necessary funding to achieve this. Our aim is to create U11 and U13 teams to effectively bridge the gap between our current U9 softball cricket and the adult friendly and league teams, with participation from age 13 upwards. Over the last four seasons, the Club has advanced in a number of areas, with the creation and steady expansion of a junior section year on year, an increase in adult volunteer effort, establishing a prominent role in the local community as a valued sporting amenity , coupled with on-field playing success and expansion of playing membership, with improved facilities in partnership with the local Council Recreation Ground Committee.
In the 2018 season, we had up to 30 juniors regularly attending each week’s coaching session, with the majority of these being of the younger ages, playing softball. The U9 cohort, together with the existing U10 – U12 group, are now ready to progress to hard ball cricket. We have a 2-lane artificial net in addition to the main square and playing field, for practice. The local support we received and appreciation shown when the second net lane was formally opened in 2018 is indicative of how much the Cricket Club is regarded as very important to the local community and especially so in our offering for the youngsters in the community. We welcome children and youth of all ability levels, have a number of girls playing regularly in this group and our intention is to encourage more girls to join.
The Club currently has a shortage of kit and equipment for hard ball cricket, in the past having relied on donated second hand equipment which in some cases is worn out and other, such as helmets , no longer meets latest safety standards. A wide range of equipment is required, to suit left and right handed batsmen of different statures over the target age range. The Club does not have any junior size equipment for wicket keeper either. Junior size practice balls (4-3/4 oz) are required too.
With regard to the coaching provision, the Club does not currently have any Level 2 qualified coaches amongst the active participants. The other key element requiring financing is the need to provide more qualified coaches to ensure as good a level of coaching provision as reasonably possible for the youth cricketers can be delivered.
If we secure the funding we need, these shortages of kit, equipment and qualified coaches for our steadily expanding youth cricket section in the key development phase from U10 through U13 can be overcome, to produce a set of junior cricketers with enhanced skills, physical and mental wellbeing achieved through a shared worthwhile undertaking in playing a great team sport.