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Northern Cricket Union Autumn/Winter Regional Development Sessions

Richard White (NCU PRO)  

This week 350 junior cricketers from more than 28 clubs and schools will receive invitations to attend regional coaching sessions, to be undertaken by over 20 Northern Cricket Union coaches. Ranging from Under 9's to Under 17's (boys and girls) and undertaken in 3 locations: Antrim Forum, Ulster University Jordanstown Sports Centre and Wallace High School, these regional development sessions which started in 2012 have gone from strength to strength.

Commenting on the programme, NCU Cricket Operations Manager, Uel Graham, said 'this is the foundation of our winter programme where clubs and schools can nominate players, across all age groups who they believe have potential, to attend coaching sessions from our dedicated coaching team. The NCU also welcomes club coaches to attend and observe these sessions so that we can share some best practices on a wider scale.

We have increased and strengthened our coaching pool, with Knights players, James Cameron Dow and Rob McKinley, and current Premier League player, Andrew Cowden, who all undertake coaching duties at their clubs, adding their expertise at a regional level. Michael Clark, from New Zealand, who was a professional at Carrick, Woodvale, Lisburn and North Down in the 1990's, and is a Level 2 coach, has relocated to Northern Ireland, and has also joined our team. 

Within the girls coaching team, senior NCU women players, Staci Maxwell and Becky Hall will be formally involved for the first time, bringing their player experience to the junior girls programmes. 

Callum Atkinson who was Lead Coach at Under 13 level has moved up to Under 15's, and Stephen Dyer, who has worked across the junior age groups as volunteer and coach, has stepped up to lead the Under 13's, whilst Peter Bates (Under 9), Andy McCrea (Under 11) and Nigel Jones (Under 17) continue their good work as Lead coaches. 

The commitment of coaches, parents and administrators at club and school level are all fundamental to the success of this programme and hopefully it will have a positive impact on club participation levels, and also to the ability levels of the players who attend these sessions as part of their cricketing journey, which can be undertaken in a safe and fun environment.' 

NCU Chairman, Alan Waite, said, 'the NCU has continued to develop and enhance the development program over the last five years and we are delighted that this winter will see record numbers of nominations from the clubs. The expanded nature of the winter schedule has required the introduction of a number of new coaches all of whom already contribute massively to their respective clubs and who will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to help support those who have done so much to establish the coaching program'.