Our Club and Community Coaches have continued to be busy delivering our schools programme over Term 2 and have, very kindly, provided the below summary of their activity in the months leading up to the festive period.

If you are a school or club that wants support promoting and delivering cricket, please get in touch with your local community coach.

West Devon - Vicky Reeve

West Devon Club & Community Coach, Vicky.

What a term! I was coaching over 500 children a week through our Whole School Programmes at Weston Mill Community Primary Academy, Pilgrim Primary Academy, Elburton Primary and Lady Modiford’s CoE Primary!

Although the weather can sometimes be a challenge at this time of year (we had ice and flash floods in Plymouth!) that doesn’t stop the children from engaging in their cricket sessions. Coaches have many resources to be able to use in smaller indoor spaces and classroom-based activities. Children always get inspired, as do I, by watching the Chance to Shine video Cricket is for me, Cricket is for everyone! Great observations are made after they’ve watched, including ‘life skills’ as well as the cricket.

Weston Mill had some quite challenging behaviours but were loving their cricket and showing lots of resilience and teamwork during the sessions. The teachers and teaching assistants were really engaged and helped the children love cricket! 

At Pilgrim Primary, Year 1 absolutely loved their ‘Bright Sparks’ booklets and we all had fun putting in their stickers every week when they were cool catchers, super strikers, brilliant bowlers, ferocious fielders and then confident cricketers! At this school, I was very fortunate to have James, a PE Teaching Assistant, during every session. James said:

“I’ve learnt so much from you, not just about cricket but about how you manage classes with some tricky behaviours!"

Vicky with her handmade Christmas card.It was great to be able to really focus on helping him with his CPD and he was coaching part of the sessions by the end of the programme! Mrs Redmond, the PE Lead was very complimentary and said: “You have been amazing, we don't want to lose you!” I was even presented with a handmade Christmas card and gifts from her and Year 6 in the last session!

Elburton was another fantastic school with very excited children who really looked forward to their cricket every week. The teachers were really enthusiastic and learnt lots of ‘top tips’ from how I coach. We had a huge outdoor space which is always great when coaching and getting children to "whack it" (that really technical cricket term that always gets a chuckle and really good results!).

Lady Modiford’s is a smaller school on Dartmoor with beautiful views and a resident woodpecker who was there most days! I felt very welcomed there and the whole school got really excited with their booklets, which created a real buzz. They were so proud of them, especially when they took them home at the end of term completed and ‘confident cricketers’!

I love my job and I get to make a difference every day, whether that is with the children and/or the teacher, and the rest of the school staff. Cricket is a great sport to put smiles on people's faces.

I’m looking forward to a festive break to recharge the batteries and give all my energy and enthusiasm to the next four schools that I’ll be coaching in Term 3!

Schools Delivery at Weston Mill Community Primary Academy, Plymouth.

East Devon - Damian Price

East Devon Club & Community Coach, Damian.This term saw me deliver two Whole School Programmes in St Martins (Whimple) and Exeter Road (Exmouth), as well as a six-week SEN programme at Southbrook School (Exeter).

The primary school programmes mostly involved dodging the rain as best as we could and, although not learning new cricket skills, it was great to spend some time in the classroom, playing dice cricket, designing school cricket shirts and delivering class assemblies showing that cricket truly is ‘a game for everyone’. The hardest part of these assemblies was trying to remember exactly which countries/continents play cricket, and I am still researching whether it is played in Antarctica with the penguins! When we did get outside it was great to see the kids enjoying the game, and especially pleasing to introduce children from different countries to the game of cricket. In my final week at both schools, the children filled the whiteboard with things they had learnt or enjoyed about the six weeks while taking part in a house cricket tournament.

A special mention to St Martins, where I worked with Mrs Stokes and Mrs Knight, for providing the most cricket-related teacher names!

I also spent six weeks in Southbrook School, an SEND school for pupils aged 11 to 16 with varied complex needs and abilities, including moderate or severe learning difficulties and autism. It was another great six weeks and great to see everyone’s progress when batting, bowling and fielding. Week 5 saw us test the pupils by playing a game following the rules of Indoor cricket, followed by a Snowball (tennis ball) throwing competition in Week 6. It was clear that the pupils' favourite activity was ‘whacking’ the ball of the stump tower, as they asked me at the start of every session whether they could do it again!

In the final week before Christmas, I spent the day with Anne-Marie at Clyst Vale Community College, practising their cricket skills and learning the rules of Indoor Cricket, ready for their Indoor tournaments in January and February.

Term 3 sees more primary school programmes, a secondary school girls' programme, an after-school girls' cricket club, two SEN schools and sessions for the Afghan community in Exmouth.

Schools Delivery at Exeter Road Community Primary, Exmouth.

South Devon - Niall Leahy

South Devon Club & Community Coach, Niall.

This year, Term 2 offered me a fantastic opportunity and experience as this term incorporated delivering for the first time on the Lord Taverner's SEND programmes alongside the usual Chance to Shine delivery. This term consisted of four six-week programmes at St Mary’s Church of England in Bideford, Bearnes Voluntary School in Newton Abbott, Bidwell Brook Special Education School in Dartington & Combe Pafford School in Torquay.

The weather this term was not overly keen on cricket being played with both programmes at St Mary’s & Bearnes being affected by the rain which limited our ability to get outside. Despite this, both schools showed fantastic enthusiasm and really got stuck into the sessions which made them very enjoyable to be a part of. The six weeks consisted of lots of different games and challenges centre around the key skills in cricket and finished with a big game in the final lessons to give the participants a chance to showcase all the skills they learnt and worked on over the programmes. Alongside the physical skills, the pupils also developed a series of life skills along the way such as teamwork, resilience and confidence.

This term offered a new opportunity to take part in our SEN delivery. Working alongside Lewis it was a good experience to work in both schools delivering both softball cricket & Table Cricket for the first time. The two programmes were both very full on filled with lots of games. At Bidwell brook working with KS2, KS3 & KS4 children, many of whom had not played cricket before. We looked at various skills and the student’s enthusiasm throughout the programme was brilliant with lots of smiles on their faces.

Table Cricket was a new experience for me having not delivered a table cricket programme before but again this was very enjoyable with the students’ skills and understanding of the different rules involved in the game all progressing. The programme was looking at developing the students' understanding of the game so they can apply this to the table cricket competition they have coming up.

A massive thank you must go out to all the schools for having me this term and all the teachers and teaching assistants who supported me within the sessions and moved various things around to provide as much cricket as possible despite the weather at times.

Schools Delivery at Bearnes Voluntary Primary School, Newton Abbott.

Would you be interested in becoming a Devon Cricket Club and Community Coach?

We are currently recruiting for a North Devon Club and Community Coach to support the implementation of our strategic plan in the North Devon area. This post is supported by Chance to Shine, the England & Wales Cricket Board and the Lord's Taverners.