BELHUS Cricket Club has finalised its plans to deliver the Cricket Foundation’s “Chance to Shine” programme in partnership with Thurrock-based schools for 2011. The ambitious club is now in the fourth year of a five-year programme which sees highly qualified coaches provide cricket coaching as part of the school curriculum as well as facilitating cricket matches between schools, which includes the highly popular ASDA kwik cricket festivals, which are open to all junior schools, regardless of whether they are in the Chance to Shine scheme. Thurrock schools in the project for 2011 are Beacon Hill, East Tilbury, Orsett, Stifford Clays, Treetops, Tudor Court and Woodside.
But does this stretch the demands of the Belhus club too far? Their volunteer Chance to Shine delivery administrator, Cliff Cansdale denies this. He says: “Over the last few years we have built up an excellent network of suitably qualified coaches. We had a slight setback just before the 2010 launch when our lead coach became ill but we were still able to deliver the programme in full without any disruption. For 2011, we expect to have the services of Belhus first teamer Gavin Jefferies who joins our Chance to Shine coaching team for the first time. He scored nearly 2,000 runs for the club in 2009 and I believe that his involvement could yield many more quality batsmen in the area. The club will continue to work with the Thurrock School Sports Partnership to develop its club-school links still further.”
Many people within Government and Sport have plenty of positive things to say about Chance to Shine. England captain Andrew Strauss says: “Five years ago very little cricket was played in state schools. Chance to Shine changed that, getting a million kids to play again. It’s not just good for cricket; there are other benefits such as life skills and teamwork.” Meanwhile, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Culture, Sport, Media and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson said: “This is absolutely the sort of thing the Government wants to be backing. Through sport, children learn a huge number of lessons that are useful in life and, most of all, they have fun. Cricket can teach pupils teamwork, leadership, winning and losing and respect for others. Schools can use sport to appeal to pupils who may not otherwise be interested.”