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Regional Development Programme 2017-2018 Update

Richard White

In September, as many local cricket clubs were putting their grounds to rest for the winter, the Northern Cricket Union were already embarking on their annual winter coaching programme (sponsored by PwC). The programme was revitalised in 2012, and since then, has gone from strength to strength each year.

Over 190 player nominations from over twenty clubs were received in response to invitations to attend a number of coaching sessions. These sessions were facilitated by more than twenty NCU coaches and volunteers, developing the cricketing skills of boys and girls ranging in age from Under 9 up to Under 15.

In total, in excess of 110 hours of coaching were delivered over a 10 week period on Sundays at the Ulster University sports campus at Jordanstown. The indoor 3G facility was utilised to develop agility and fielding skills, and the indoor sports hall to enhance batting and bowling disciplines.

Uel Graham, who co-ordinates the programme commented, 'the commitment of both the players and parents over the winter period has been outstanding, and the enjoyment and learning at each age group has been there for all to see. Special thanks goes to the coaches and volunteers whose support is vital to the development of our youth programme'.

Brian Walsh, Director of Representative Cricket said, 'We have made huge strides over the past five years especially with the young cricketers' who have been in our system over that period, some of whom started at 7 and 8 years of age. We are again taking two young teams to Cape Town next March, including those in the 'Andrew White Academy.' This experience also helps immensely with their development and I would also like to congratulate all the coaches who have worked so hard with their groups. Lastly I would also like to acknowledge our chairman Alan Waite for his superb support and encouragement'.

There is a brief respite for the Christmas and New Year period, but the planning for 2018 is well advanced and the sessions will commence again on 14 January, running through to Easter. Additional plans are well advanced in relation to the summer programme.