POPULAR: The All Stars cricket programme has proved a hit with youngsters at Raby Castle CC			   TM pic
POPULAR: The All Stars cricket programme has proved a hit with youngsters at Raby Castle CC TM pic

STAINDROP Parish Council has thrown its support behind a successful scheme that is getting more youngsters from their village getting involved in cricket.

Members heard during their meeting on Thursday last week how, until three years ago, there had been almost no cricket available for young children to take part in.

This changed when Raby Castle Cricket Club signed up to the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) All Stars scheme aimed at those aged between four and eight.

Club secretary Stephen Cayhill, who started the scheme, told the council: “The first year I had 32 youngsters participating in the programme, the following year I had 41.

“So, obviously we are doing something right.

“Obviously those children get a little bit older and we have to do something to take them from the age of eight to 13. So, what we have done is enrolled in the latest ECB programme, which is called Dynamos.”

He added that the club now also has a successful junior section for children up to the age of 13, and players currently enjoy indoor net practice with the club.

Mr Cayhill said: “On a good night we get nearly 20 kids coming at this time of year to practice.”

However, he said these activities were putting a financial strain on the club, which did not have traditional sources of income, such as a bar, as they operate from the grounds of Raby Castle, and could not compete against the tourist attraction’s café and facilities.

Some of the costs, he said, included sending club members on training courses in coaching cricket, health and safety, first aid, child welfare and safeguarding.

He said: “We do raise all our own funding. We spent over £2,000 on our ground just preparing the wicket and the outfield, and that is just material costs – we have a volunteer corps that takes care of that.”

Currently the club raises its cash through raffles, race nights and a presentation night, but it needs help to grow the junior section, he said.

He added: “We have been on the go for over 125 years and we would like to appeal to the council to help us out with funding.”

In answering the parish council’s question about how much the club needed, he responded: “Anything north of a couple of hundred pounds would be useful, for example I went on a two-day coaching course late last year and the price for that was £150.

“Anything you could give us would be appreciated.”

Impressed by Mr Cayhill’s bid, the parish council agreed it would give the cricket club £500 and the cash would be available from the next financial year, which begins on April 1.