A teenage cricketer who first picked up a bat after watching a memorial game is encouraging more youngsters to give the sport a go.
James Bassett, 15, is one of a number of Marsden Cricket Club members getting set to welcome the next generation of sporting stars through the gates of ‘The Den’ as part of its All Stars programme.
The eight-week scheme, overseen by Chris Mann, aims to introduce five to eight-years-old to the sport and launches on May 12.
The club, based at Jack Clark Park, currently has a player retention rate of 95% with its under-11 players continuing through to Under 15s.
Of those 85% stay on to play cricket at a senior level.
At the end of the All Stars programme, youngsters will be given the chance to join the club’s coaching sessions throughout the summer.
James, who will take on a supporting role to help youngsters as they learn the basic skills of the game, said: “I was 10 when I started playing after attending a memorial match. Some of my friends already played at Marsden and I really enjoyed it.
“The coaching is great and you always get encouragement.
“The club is like one big family and everyone knows each other and it’s a great place to play. We have a good mix of girls and boys and we all get on great.”
James whose dad Peter also plays for the club added: “We are competitive, but we have so much fun also and great exercise. I would recommend parents bringing their kids along and letting them have a go.”
Each child who registers through the All Stars Programme will receive a backpack containing a cricket bat, ball, activitiy book, personalised shirt and cap.
For eight-weeks, they will learn the basics of the game including batting, throwing, catching, bowling, running, teamwork, communication and how to respect others through the spirit of cricket.
Parents are also encouraged to take part.
Chairman Gary Goyal said: “Marsden Cricket Club has long been established as a place where young people can come and learn the skills of the game surrounded by experienced coaches who are on hand to encourage them to reach their potential and help them grow as sportspeople, in a fun and supportive atmosphere.
“We offer a range of sessions for a variety of age groups including Under nines softball which is a great stepping stone between All stars and Under 11s hardball.
“We actively encourage families to join in, during the All Stars sessions and be part of their child’s training.”
The club is also hosting an All Stars and junior magic show at Jack Clark Park on Sunday April 28 from 4pm until 6pm.
The All Stars Programme, priced £40, is open to those aged five to eight-years-old. Sessions will take place on Sundays, 11am until noon, starting from Sunday May 12.
To register visit ecb.clubspark.uk/AllStars/At/marsdencc or for more information on other sessions call 07949 716 590 or email firstname.lastname@example.org