New Zealander helps implement boys and girls cricket sessions
All Stars cricket sessions have started at Olicanian Cricket Club’s Denton Road ground on Fridays. More than 50 boys and girls attended the sessions which are aimed at introducing the game to children aged between five and eight years old.
All Stars is a coaching programme designed by the England and Wales Cricket Board but, for Ilkley boys and girls at least, it is a New Zealander who is helping to implement the initiative.
James Gifford, a 19-year-old from Hamilton in the North Island is the club’s overseas player this season. He opens the batting and bowls off-spin but he has also become passionate about the All Stars sessions.
“I’m half English - my mother was born in Bristol - so I’m quite comfortable about trying to produce young English cricketers,” he said.
James paid his own way over to the UK for the season. His accommodation is being funded by fellow Olicanian player Barry Oldham, through his company Wharfedale Refrigeration.
“James was here last year and was very popular with the parents of our young players so we wanted to do what we could to make it possible for him to come back and coach the youngsters again,” said Mr Oldham.
Olicanian CC is the only Ilkley club hosting the All-Stars programme which sees the ECB supply kit and equipment and aims to prepare youngsters for the start of structured cricket at the Under 9’s age group.