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Go-ahead Darley Dale Cricket Club launch new junior academy

Some of the current crop of talented academy youngsters at Darley Dale Cricket Club.
Some of the current crop of talented academy youngsters at Darley Dale Cricket Club.

Ambitious Darley Dale Cricket Club have announced the launch of an innovative scheme aimed at unearthing and developing their stars of tomorrow.

Clubmark-accredited Darley have built up a thriving junior section in recent years, running sessions for children from junior-school age upwards. And several of the youngsters are now integral members of the club’s first team.

Now they have founded a junior academy aimed at nurturing their talented crop of young players. It has been set up in conjunction with the Derbyshire Cricket Board (DCB), who will deliver 17 sessions through a dedicated coach from February to July each year.

The collaboration will see Darley Dale, a previous winner of the DCB club of the year award, deploy their coaches, captains and senior players to assist the board’s qualified professionals in one-to-one coaching sessions, comprising tactical, technical, mental, physical and lifestyle skills and video analysis. The whole scheme will be overseen by Darley’s junior co-ordinator Stu Rudkin, himself winner of the DCB community coach of the year award.

The guiding principle of the programme is to inject professional, county-style development into the club, whose chairman, Andy Topley, said: “The academy will build on the established junior coaching programme which has been running for a number of years.

“There is a lot of young talent at the club, and we want to help the players to be the very best they can be.”

Rudkin said: “Last year, in Darley Dale senior cricket, junior players scored two 50s, took two hat-tricks and had the best individual bowling figures in a match (7-30). Statistically, eight of the top ten bowlers were juniors, which is testament to the potential of our young cricketers.”

DCB coach Tom Coxhead added: “The DCB Community Programme enables the board to work closely with clubs on developing their junior sections. I am excited to be involved in this new project and look forward to working with the club and players throughout the 2017 season.”

The academy does not come cheap and will cost Darley Dale about £2,000 in 2017 alone. But local schools, with which the club enjoys strong links, are set to benefit too. It is also the latest boost for a club that has plans to unveil a new, electronic scoreboard for the 2017 season.