The Ana Leaf Foundation sponsored Jersey Cricket in Schools programme, now in its 18th year, kicks off this term benefiting some 2,000 boys and girls in the island’s Primary and Secondary schools.
The scheme, run by Jersey Cricket Board has proved to be the ideal vehicle for grass roots cricket development and is the envy of most European countries.
Involving curriculum time lessons and after-school clubs, it introduces cricket to primary school children employing qualified cricket coaches.
Tony Hoyland, Deputy Head at Bel Royal Primary School said that his school accesses the programme across the whole of KS2 throughout the year as part of its “Striking and Fielding Games” programme.
“We find the coaches are excellent at delivering a progression of the skills and a game to reinforce those skills in an environment in which all pupils feel valued and are able to achieve success and development within their own individual skill sets – be that from learning the basic skills to Primary Island representative level.
“We have also taken part in the Cricket Ambassador Programme which alongside the development of the pupils is one of the latest initiatives to upskill teachers which can only benefit future progressions in Primary School Cricket.”
Jersey’s National Team’s recent successes on the international stage has raised the profile of the game locally which has been a vital tool used to promote the game in Jersey.
“The impressive trophies have been taken to school assemblies by the senior island team members who were able to tell the children a little more about how they were won,” said Chris Minty, Jersey Cricket’s Chief Executive Officer.
“Some of these senior players were first introduced to cricket by the Jersey Schools Coaching Programme.”
Funding provided by the Ana Leaf Foundation since 2013, has allowed Jersey Cricket to employ additional staff and extend the scheme not only to include some children in Years 1 and 2 but also students from the island’s secondary schools. It has also enabled the scheme to run in both the Spring and Summer Terms.
“Schools perceived to be slightly disadvantaged have always taken precedence over others,” said Mr Minty.
This year’s programme will involve three Development Coaches enabling Jersey Cricket to deliver the game to more young people and to identify talented players who can then be involved in more advanced schemes in the future.
The programme brings cricket to almost all the island’s Primary Schools in four or five session blocks delivering an ‘Introduction to Cricket Programme’ to pupils from Year 1 to Year 6, continuing into secondary school Year 8 if required.
“We are very proud of this grass roots scheme that introduces the game of cricket to so many children who might not necessarily have the chance to experience the game. These children may become tomorrow’s future Island players where Jersey can continue to feature on the international stage,” said Mr Minty.