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Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club are building for the future with youth



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All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007695)
All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007695)

Friday night is cricket night at Spicers Sports Ground in Sawston.

More than 160 youngsters aged between three and 15 descend on Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club to take part in their weekly training sessions.

The progress has been growing for the past three years, thanks to the ECB-run All Stars Cricket and Dynamos Cricket.

Registration is handled centrally by the governing body, but it has been a boon to the Rams.

“You’ve got to take your hat off to the ECB, it’s their idea of starting children young, from five upwards, and it’s been phenomenally successful right across the country,” said Dave Ellis, Sawston & Babraham head of cricket development.

“I think we are the biggest in Cambridgeshire, but it’s going exceptionally well.”

All Stars Cricket is for five to eight year olds, and at Sawston they currently have 70 children taking part in the age group.

Dynamos Cricket is for eight to 11 year olds, and there are currently 40 playing at Spicers.

On top of that, Sawston & Babraham have their own Junior Rams, with 50 attending on a Friday evening.

“We’re really starting to see the benefits coming through into our junior sections,” said Ellis.

“We’ve taken it one stage further as well because we’ve even got from three to five years olds as well, so we start them really young.

“There are quite a few siblings of All Stars children, and they were standing around so we thought why not get them involved – the earlier you can get kids interested in cricket the better.

“We’re really blessed. We’ve got a few club members that have been around for a good while, people like Rob Benson and Peter Mudge, but also quite a lot of our first and second-team players get involved, so it’s a whole club effort.

“We also get 15 to 16 year olds to help out with the coaching.”

Sawston & Babraham had to enhance their provision of youth cricket on the first team’s promotion to the East Anglian Premier League three years ago.

They have done just that, and now field teams in the under-10s, under-11s, under-13s and under-15s age groups.

All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007696)
All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007696)
All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007697)
All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007697)
All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007698)
All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007698)
All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007699)
All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007699)
All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007700)
All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007700)
All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007701)
All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007701)
All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007704)
All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007704)
All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007713)
All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007713)
All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007705)
All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007705)
All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007711)
All Stars Junior cricket training at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club . Picture: Keith Heppell. (57007711)

“We know we had to get teams at the right age groups, like the league insists upon,” said Ellis.

“We did need to get cracking with it, but the All Stars and Dynamos has come along at exactly the right time for us. Nobody can say that we don’t have a youth section now.”

Another boost has been the number of girls taking up the sport.

Of the 160 juniors taking part at the Rams, there are between 30 and 40 girls.

“Whereas we’ve not had a girls’ team yet, we’ve got a girls only Dynamos section this time so we’re hoping by next year we will have our first girls’ team in place,” said Ellis.

“You’ve got to build it slowly, and get it to build in a solid way.”

Sawston & Babraham are the biggest club running the ECB schemes in Cambridgeshire, but thousands of children are taking part in the programmes across the country.

It is marketed centrally and that helps to broaden the reach to potential players.

“We tend to bring in children from a wider sphere than you would normally perhaps get if a cricket club just sent out a note to schools that it was doing cricket,” said Ellis.

“It has become a massive social thing now as well because we run barbecues, the bar is open so a lot of the parents stay for the sessions and stay afterwards so it has really changed the way the weekend is shaped – Friday is cricket night now.”

He added: “It really is our future. We understand that we have done well at the top end with the first team but for that to be sustainable we’ve got to have a much stronger youth session than we’ve had, both in numbers and in quality, and this is really the way that we’re going to achieve that.”



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