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Shining, even without Hoggard

Oliver Brett | 11:05 UK time, Saturday, 21 July 2007

ob66.jpgMatthew Hoggard's late withdrawal from the Lord's Test because of injury did not only deprive England of their number one bowler for the first Test.

It also meant the organisers of an exclusive little soiree near Lord’s had to go about their business without their most noteworthy guest.

Chance to Shine – the charitable institution aiming to transform grass-roots cricket in Britain – did gather former Sports Minister Richard Caborn and Sir Tim Rice to a bijoux residence in St John’s Wood.

Our host for the evening was the cousin of a former Conservative minister, a property entrepreneur who has himself donated a five-figure sum to the cause.

As we stood in the delightful surrounds of a sitting-room done up in Thai style, rich in wood panelling – and very unlike most houses in NW8 - we were given an update on the campaign.

So far, £10 million has been raised from the private sector in the hunt to find £25 million by 2010. And every penny will be matched by the government.

Ian Bell doing his bit for Chance to Shnie

The idea is that schools and clubs are matched together – and the money pays for coaches to come to those “target” schools.

It is all very admirable – and will hopefully achieve its aim of reversing the decline in competitive schools cricket.

My one problem with it is this: schools themselves – at least the ones in my area of north London – rarely make much mention of sports facilities in their prospectuses.

They should do: parents are overwhelmed by every form of league table when some might also want to know if a certain school has dedicated cricket coaches.

I cannot be the only one.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 12:42 PM on 21 Jul 2007,
  • sanjay wrote:

I must agree with your comments about school prospectuses, which talk in detail a lot about Ofsted reports, which I suppose they have to, but, almost in afterthought, make little mention about dedicated 'study' in sports such as cricket.
My 7 old son is mad about cricket, which I have encouraged by taking him, when I can,to the Warwickshire Bears home matches and occasional coaching sessions,buying cricket shirts, playing cricket with him etc. etc.
Local cricket clubs locally only have coaching sessions from only 9 upwards, which creates a, potentially crucial, void in his cricket education and interest.
Cricket plays a part in his life now, which I guess will be supplanted by academic education as he gets older, which needs to be nurtured by schools.
Cynically, only when cricket education in schools does become marked(which I don't believe it does), like literacy and numeracy, towards their Ofsted report, will maybe schools make any attempts to provide cricket coaching.

  • 2.
  • At 12:56 PM on 21 Jul 2007,
  • Carl wrote:

A good idea - as long as the coaching is not restricted to pupils from the lucky schools selected. Cricket is basically non existent in most state schools. My school had a decent pitch which was only used by the adjacent cricket club for practise apart from maybe one session in games a year, where you got maybe 2 minutes batting, and a bowl if you were lucky - you just can't do a lot of cricket in an hours games lesson.
We even had a pavilion which had been mothballed for years - all it was used for was smoking behind...

I'd have loved to have some sort of coaching - I'm now playing occasional pub cricket, first opportunity I've really had to play - at the age of 30. I like to think I might have been half decent if I'd started a bit earlier!

  • 3.
  • At 01:33 PM on 21 Jul 2007,
  • saad wrote:

this is good i believe, that schools cricket should be given more encourangment. children should be given a varied amount of sports to try out not just football. cricket is a great sport, cricketers are excellent role models, as most of them have been to university and got degrees.

  • 4.
  • At 01:46 PM on 21 Jul 2007,
  • Oliver Brett wrote:


One of the main points is that it is targeting only state schools, not private schools. However, one of the Chance to Shine people I met admitted that unfortunately certain state schools will miss out simply because of geography.

  • 5.
  • At 01:52 PM on 21 Jul 2007,
  • Dave Peregrine wrote:

Big sympathy with Carl. I too have only just been able to begin playing cricket competitively at the age of 28, after a full state education. My secondary school had no grass playing fields at all. I find it interesting that now I am playing the facilities I use seem to have a common theme: we net at Clifton College (private secondary school) and play matches at Bristol Grammar School (ditto) and Queen Elizabeth Hospital (again) playing fields, all in Bristol. At the same time we fill the pockets of these private schools who do take sport seriously, and people sometimes wonder why we have so few cricketers/rugby players from a state education. Even though these are fee-paying schools, they still receive significant funding from the state and I would like to see this finance come with a proviso that all facilities will be made available -free of charge - to local state schools or community groups, with coaching included. Unfortunately, I'm not sure whether I can see the private schools agreeing to this and - maybe more worryingly - the state schools subscribing to it when they have to focus so much of their time on results for league tables.

Cricket has so much to offer our communites. What other event could I go to with my wife, my parents in law and my wife's gran with everybody having a great time? And whilst it is a bit of a cliche, what activities - beyond formal education - do we offer kids in which success depends on discipline, discretion, intelligence and, most importantly, enthusiasm? Shame that I'm preaching to the converted here.

  • 6.
  • At 03:33 PM on 21 Jul 2007,
  • robin bextor wrote:

Bang on ! Chance to Shine is an excellent initiative, it is partly the absence of competitive sport from the curriculum of state schools in the 70's that has lead to the escalation of anti social behaviour, but more importantly what a chance millions of kids have missed out on-the chance to love sport and excel in a field other than academia.
The state should try and encourage this by matching funding for the overtime teachers should earn in adding coaching, sport and oher out of hours activities to their timetable.

  • 7.
  • At 04:17 PM on 21 Jul 2007,
  • David Milburn wrote:

What is this illusion that there is no competitive sport in state schools. We run 4 cricket teams,5 football 4 rugby league 5 netball and three hockey not to mention orienteering, rounders and athletics. We are a sports college with few facilities and NO MONEY. Why wont the government help schools that are not in cities or in labour authorities?

  • 8.
  • At 04:19 PM on 21 Jul 2007,
  • David Milburn wrote:

I am rather tired by continuing comments that state schols do little for cricket. I am a teacher at a comprehensive near Selby. We have excellent links with our local club. We get little or no support from ECB as we are not in a city. Why does all support go to the inner cities? What about us who are trying but getting no help!
Many of my players play for the local club and we use their facilities for FREE.

  • 9.
  • At 05:09 PM on 21 Jul 2007,
  • John Gathercole wrote:

Just tuned in. Enjoying the chat, but please up date us an current score stakes

WHen I was at school an ordinary elementary school sport and P.E. were part of the curriculam I became a schoolboy champion boxer (inter schools Champion an many more) and another boy became a very good cricketer. My brother became the amatuer champion of Britain at his weight in later years No great facilities no grants no subsidies nothing but dedication. But we never sat at home watching tele or at the computer (there were n't any then , of course)

Today many playing fields in my ares have gone. you see very few children playing out and to me that is why some small Eastl European countrie can beat Britain at many sports.
In football,to mention one sport, most premeirship clubs have more foreign players than British players, and it makes me very sad,

  • 11.
  • At 11:02 PM on 21 Jul 2007,
  • Tim Fielding wrote:

Chance to Shine

Great Idea but is it spin or window dressing!

My club have supplied two coaches to the scheme and they have visited local schools.

The problem is that we can't take anymore youngsters at our club because we are full, we have 145 junior members.

So by going into schools you are increasing the aspirations of youngsters and parents you can't include in your club.

The money would be better spent at club level by increasing the numbers of coaches available.

Then you would have a strong base to build from.

Tim Fielding
Little Stoke Cricket Club

  • 12.
  • At 12:30 AM on 22 Jul 2007,
  • Dave Peregrine wrote:

David (7&8), I would expect that if your school is a sports college it would be involved in competitive sport with other schools, and credit to your local CC for their generosity with their facilities. Unfortunately, that does seem to be the exception. It is widely acknowledged that Private schools engage in more competitive sport than state schools. They devote more time, money and staffing to sport and this option is afforded to them because they have - generally - more intelligent pupils who are able to acheive better grades with less teaching time and of course because they have more money. If this weren't the case, there would be no need for such initiatives as this. I acknowledge that my perspective is slightly skewed because I come from Bristol, where the state schools suffer horrifically because of a disproportionately high number of private schools, but I would suggest that no other city could highlight so clearly the stark differences in opportunity between children in state and private education. I would simply like to see the wealth shared. All credit to those state schools who do put the effort into sporting education/achievement. I wish I had gone to one, but I fear they are the exception.

Re. the points about these initiatives always being focussed on inner-city areas, I sympathise a great deal. I suppose that the authorities are simply trying to make the opportunities available to the most kids for the least money, and the inner-cities have the highest concentration of kids. They also seem to have more problems (or more high profile problems at least) to which sports such as cricket may provide an answer. And finally, more often than not these are the poorest areas, and so any state funding will usually be channelled in their direction.

Either way, the more success Chance to Shine has, the more people it will reach, so lets try and support it in any way we can.

  • 13.
  • At 08:17 PM on 22 Jul 2007,
  • heather petty wrote:

Schools don't mention their sports facilities because (especially in inner London) they don't have any. My school has one large concrete playground, no grass, no football pitch, nothing.
We would LOVE to have proper cricket coaches come in for a sustained period.

  • 14.
  • At 12:04 PM on 23 Jul 2007,
  • Irfan Javed wrote:

This is excellant news that cricket is getting some good recognition and funding for fellow coaches (especially those working during the winter)

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