LCCC Academy and Young Cricketers Overview - July 2020
“Move over Joe Wicks – Cricket is back!”
I am sitting down to write my first Academy and Pathway website update of the 2020 season, having just followed a stunning victory by the Foxes over Lancashire at Blackfinch, New Road. It has been a fantastic day and a blueprint for the club’s cricket in the future. Whilst the first eleven were closing in on victory, I was taking a practice session at the Fischer County Ground for the Academy players and remaining professionals who did not travel to Worcester. This brilliant learning and training experience was taking place for one group, and at the same time the LYC Under 16 to 18 age group players were at Ratcliffe College with Pathway coaches Dave Whitmore and Jigar Naik, training for 3 day cricket in a middle practice. Across the county, at Newtown Linford CC, Pathway coaches Paul Johnson and Phillip Defreitas were coaching our Under 15’s to victory against Cambridgeshire. Thanks to 90 from Will Begy and 70 from George Royle our Leicestershire youngsters reached a total of 278 and then 3 wickets apiece for Mohammad Daanyal and Angus Owen restricted Cambs to 140.
This for me was a perfect day for our development pathway. Lots of players being given relevant and challenging experiences, using various fantastic venues with great facilities. Being taught lessons by experienced and passionate coaches who care immensely about the clubs’ future and give tirelessly towards the goal of helping players achieve their dreams. All the while, these dreams are being realized and cemented by a first eleven team achieving a heroic victory. Players around the county practicing emulating Colin Ackerman hitting the winning runs in the county championship. Maybe it will be them in the future!
This is a far cry from the last few months. Our young cricketers have toiled away in their back gardens with no end in sight. It has been an immensely challenging summer for everyone. However, throughout this period some good has taken place and we are very proud of the various fundraising efforts that have taken place during lockdown by our Leicestershire Young Cricketers.
Uday Modwhadia (Academy player) raised £1,030 for “NHS Charities together” by running a 10k for 30 consecutive days. The same charity also benefited from our Under 13 squad and their families who raised £2,085 with a walking and cycling challenge and Zethan Bandi (Under 12 player) shaved his head and raised £179. The Rutland Foodbank was the beneficiary of £1,575 when two of our Under 15 squad (Will Begy and Angus Owen) took part in a cycling challenge with Oakham Cricket Club. All these events gave the players focus and a purpose during this challenging time. This desire to help others and to give selflessly is an important characteristic of team players and future Leicestershire Foxes.
With the easing of government lockdowns around the country, we began to plan for the return of Pathway and Academy cricket. We have had fantastic support from Ratcliffe College in particular, to get initial practice sessions up and running, as well as Uppingham School, Kibworth CC, Newtown Linford CC, Dunton Bassett CC and Lutterworth CC who are all providing facilities for practice and matches in order to get as many match-play experiences for our young cricketers in a year that appeared we would have none.
It has been pleasing to be able to visit some of the clubs in the county since the league cricket has re-started and to see the quality on show and the opportunities our young players have at their clubs. I have seen some encouraging performances from Dylan Church who scored a mature half century for Newtown Linford against Sileby CC, Pip Jackson who has taken the new ball for Newtown Linford and Finn Hayes playing first eleven cricket for Loughborough town as a 16 year old and carrying out an important role as an off spinner. I have also witnessed some strong showings from players who have moved out of the pathway and are aiming to pursue their careers with good performances in senior cricket, such as Ajay Khunti and Nick Green. Our pathway has a responsibility to help maintain the standard of club cricket by helping clubs to develop well rounded young cricketers who enjoy the game for life. Hopefully, Nick and Ajay are two players who are good examples of this. If we can do that, club cricket in the region will continue to thrive.
We now have a full practice and match schedule in place until the end of September where we will play local and neighbouring counties. The Leicester City lockdown continues to prevent some of our young cricketers from doing what they love, however, when it comes to an end, they will be back before we know it. Our next home Under 18 game where spectators are allowed is at Kibworth CC on Wednesday 26th August. Please come down and show your support for our young cricketers. We have some fantastic talent in our system and you may get to see Aryan Patel play an innings to emulate Ackers’ today at Worcester.
Alastair Maiden – Head of Talent Pathway
Note: All venues have had risk assessments completed to ensure the safety of staff and players. Training sessions and matches have been completed in accordance with the latest rules and guidance.