Our Club & Community Coaches have been busy delivering our schools programmes across the county during the final few months of 2023.

We caught up with each of them to provide an update on where they have been delivering our programmes in Terms 1 and 2.

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

South Devon

September in South Devon was as busy as ever with Whole School Programmes (WSP) in four schools from Bovey Tracey to Babbacombe.

In Moretonhampstead, I enjoyed working with children from pre-school up to Year 6, many of whom had not had much experience of cricket. It was great to get some positive feedback from teachers about the programmes and the impact it had on the staff as well as the children.

Term 2 took me to Combe Pafford School in Torquay to work with children with additional needs and give them an opportunity to try cricket. This was a very rewarding programme and, alongside our disability development officer, Lewis Fountain, I was able to learn a lot about adapting sessions to meet individual needs. 

I also delivered a WSP in Berry Pomeroy, seeing each class across two days. Longer sessions allowed time for plenty of activity as well as some classroom-based sessions due to poor weather. The children all engaged with the sessions well and will hopefully look to continue cricket outside of school in the summer.

The calendar year finished with the South Devon Under 15 secondary competitions at Paignton Hub. These were well attended and there was some great cricket on show. Thank you to Annabel for her support as ever. 

I am looking forward to the New Year with WSPs at Kingskerswell and Abbotskerwell schools, as well as SEN delivery at Orchard Manor. Outside of school, we’ll also be starting Chance to Shine Street Cricket in Torquay and a girls' MCC Foundation Hub

"Niall was excellent - I couldn't rate him more highly. He was incredibly skilled at engaging children from pre-school age to Year 6.

"He was good fun, managed behaviour brilliantly and inspired an enthusiasm for a sport not many children had considered before.

"Thank you to Niall for his hard work and enthusiasm - we would love to welcome him back to school soon!"

East Devon

The 2023 cricket season may seem like a distant memory, but school delivery and giving children the opportunity to experience cricket in school does not stop. It has been a busy Autumn term in East Devon, with five WSPs in six schools, an after-school club, two SEND programmes, Exeter Super 1s delivery, and school and club meetings.

The first part of the Autumn term took me to four new primary schools in Offwell (Honiton), Bampton (Heathcoat), and Otterton & Drakes (Budleigh Salterton). We managed to miss much of the rain and enjoyed giving children the opportunity to play some cricket, most for the first time. Especially pleasing was how involved the teachers got, with some leading activities during the sessions. This is always pleasing to see, and will hopefully mean they are more confident to deliver cricket lessons once I have finished.

It was also great to revisit Ellen Tinkham and Southbrook Schools as part of the Lord's Taverners SEND programme. Many of the children remembered me from my last visit, so it was a challenge to make sure that I didn’t repeat too many activities, as they would constantly remind me, that they had “done this before”.

By spending six weeks in a school, you can build a real rapport with the students, this became evident with the Key Stage 4 class at Ellen Tinkham who would welcome me each week with “Hello Cricket Fwiend” (an Inbetweeners quote, if you didn’t know)! Hopefully, we will see some of these begin to attend the weekly Super 1s Hub in Exeter.

The second part of the Autumn Term, was not quite so nice in terms of the weather! Storm Ciaran, rain and even snow meant that it was cricket in the hall for the majority of the six weeks at Littleham Primary School (Exmouth). For the majority of the children, this was the first time they had experienced cricket, and it was great to see how excited they were for the weekly sessions, and by the end of the six weeks, it was clear to see how much all of the children had improved.

Finally, the Wednesday weather was a lot nicer, and All Saints Primary School (Axminster) enjoyed a much drier six weeks of batting, bowling and fielding lessons along with an after-school club. Particularly pleasing was how quickly the children attending the after-school club picked up on all of the rules of Countdown Cricket. Watch out for them in summer competitions!

"The feedback from every member of staff has been really positive about the content, the CPD staff received and how engaged all the children were.

"It really has been the highlight of the term with staff and children looking forwrd to cricket coaching. Children who have been previously disinterested in sport have been encouraged and been successful due to Damian's coaching and positive delivery."

West Devon

This year Term 1 provided me with fantastic opportunities. I was able to provide Table Cricket sessions for six weeks at Loncause SEN school (Plympton). The children progressed through this programme extremely well.

This term, I delivered six WSPs for six weeks in Riverside Community Primary School in Bane Barton, Lady Modiford’s Church of England Primary School In Walkhampton, Chaddlewood Primary School in Plympton, Victoria Road Primary School in St Budeaux, Mary Dean’s Church of England Primary School in Tamerton Foliet and Pilgrim Primary Academy in Plymouth.

The Weather wasn’t always the best for cricket this term especially whilst at Pilgrim and Chadlewood. Despite the poor weather both schools showed great fantastic enthusiasm and got stuck in we continued with our session in the school hall and both students and teachers enjoyed some fun-filled lessons. All lessons were full of fun games throughout to allow the children to learn. This also allowed the teachers to add all lessons to the catalogue and provide them for their students in the future.

This Term also offered me the chance to provide Chance to Shine Street session for the first time. The sessions started off slowly with attendance, but in recent weeks have picked up and all participants are engaging in enjoyable sessions.

A massive thanks to all the teachers and teaching assistants who helped me provide sessions in all conditions this term.

"Jack was very polite and friendly, he was great with the children and nothing was too much trouble. He showed great professionalism with the children and staff."

North Devon

After hitting the ground running when I started in April, the challenges of going into my first full academic year of schools delivery felt both exciting and daunting. 

Chance to Shine delivery in Term 1 consisted of three six-week programmes at Bishops Tawton (Barnstaple), Kingsacre (Braunton) and Holsworthy Primary Schools. The 'Indian Summer' stayed around for the majority of the term which allowed cricket to be played not just on the playground but also on the playing fields which was a real bonus. The programmes are built week-by-week with the key skills of catching, fielding, batting and bowling being developed through practice and skills challenges. The final two weeks allowed the pupils to show off what they had learnt through playing both small-sided games and 'big' intra-class battles. It was great to see the achievement and enthusiasm continuously improve and feel the buzz at the end of lessons.   

In early September I had the added bonus of running two taster sessions for schools in the West Exmoor Federation at Lynton and Lynmouth CC, which is arguably one of the South West's most picturesque cricket grounds. The cricket skills on shown even drew in a small crowd of interested tourists.    

Term 2 brought a real mix of activity from weekly programmes in three primary schools to lots of meetings with primary schools to discuss future programmes to support the North Devon Youth League reshaping playing opportunities for 2024 and working with clubs on their player pathways. Busy, busy, busy!

The schools delivery looks to support the development of key physical and life skills and for all of us involved in the sessions, I think we can say we all learnt a lot as mother nature tested us with rain, wind and ice. I am sure control, adaptability, empathy and resilience come to mind to everybody at Beaford Community, Horwood and Newton Tracey and St Helens C of E Primary Schools. Despite all the challenges we faced the cricket continued and the pupils showed full commitment to becoming both 'Skilful Scorer' and 'Confident Cricketer'. One of the most rewarding aspects of delivering in Schools is seeing pupils who don't always engage with PE not only taking a full part in sessions but also helping others.

Having delivered a six-week curriculum-based programme and Dynamos Intro project at Bluecoat C of E Primary School (Great Torrington) in Term 6 of the last academic year we were able to continue developing the cricket provision at the School by running an All-Stars project for pupils in School Years 2 and 3. Both the Dynamos Intro and All-Stars projects have been used to engage pupils who wouldn't normally be able to access this opportunity for a number of reasons. Working in partnership with the School has been a pleasure and showcasing the benefits of cricket will hopefully inspire some new cricketers.  

Working in schools can be challenging at times but with the support of some great teachers and teaching assistants, we have been able to deliver some great sessions for the pupils and also learn from each other's experiences. We are always learning!  

Looking ahead to Term 3, my work programme will shift focus to the opportunity of delivering sessions to children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities through a mixture of softball cricket and Table Cricket. This will be a brand new experience for me, so really looking forward to learning a lot from the PE Specialists and Lewis, our Super 1s Disability Development Officer. I will also be delivering a joint programme in Crediton with Haywards and Landscore primary Schools and continuing with supporting Clubs in the area to get ready for the season ahead.

"Martin was professional and took time to build a rapport with the children. He engaged all learners and had a fantastic way to deliver each session.

"The children thoroughly enjoyed each session and would have loved to continue."

Looking for support promoting and delivering cricket? Please get in touch with your local community coach.