Youth policy paying dividends at Mortimer Park

First published in Sport

LUCTONIANS seem to be bucking the trend when it comes to encouraging youngsters to take up cricket.

Having a good youth set up is integral to any club that wants to progress and be successful, no matter what the sport, but in cricket it seems to be more and more important as there are less and less youngsters choosing to take up the sport.

But Luctonians have seen numbers at their junior coaching sessions reach well over 70, which is a source of considerable pride to chairman Ian ‘Knocker’ Lawrence.

“At the minute we’ve got four level two coaches, but the two main ones who coach our youth section are Chris and Peter Griffiths," he said.

"They came to us last year and have done a fantastic job, they’ve been absolutely brilliant with the youngsters.

"When you go down and see the levels of enjoyment that the kids are getting from the sessions it really does make you feel proud of the fact that you're helping to develop some of the county’s future talent.”

Despite having initially not really thought about the coaching side of the game, the Griffiths brothers have taken to the task with both hands and are thoroughly enjoying their new roles.

“We started three years ago when the junior chairman asked us to come along and do some junior coaching,” explained Chris. “And after a successful first year, the club asked us to take it a step further and paid for us to go and do our level two badges.”

“We never set out to do the coaching, we just sort of fell into it,” added Peter. “But we love doing it and it’s really rewarding to see the all the juniors starting to break into the 3rd XI.

In the first-team, we have Joe Hunt, whom we were coaching two years ago, coming in and playing alongside us which is fantastic to see.

"It sort of confirms that we are doing the right thing and hopefully more and more will filter through in the coming years.”

Another member of the Luctonians set-up who is extremely pleased with the work that the Griffiths brothers and the rest of the junior coaches are doing is first-team captain James Platford.

He believes that the strength in depth that the youth players can offer is vital in any success the team and the club may achieve.

“As a club we are really strong with numbers of players we have that can play at a good a level," he said.

"We had three teams out today all with a strong XI and that’s with a number of players missing, including the first-team with seven out today.

“The main reason for that is the fantastic youth set-up we have here and we are definitely reaping the benefits of everyone’s hard work.

"We’ve got so many youngsters coming into the 3rd XI this year, which pushes last year’s into the seconds and playing at such a good level that they slot in seamlessly when I need to call upon them.”

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