BACK FOR MORE: All Stars cricket will return to the dale next summer after proving a huge hit with youngsters, such as this group who took part in the scheme at Raby Castle CC	              TM pic
BACK FOR MORE: All Stars cricket will return to the dale next summer after proving a huge hit with youngsters, such as this group who took part in the scheme at Raby Castle CC TM pic

CHILDREN are to be given the chance to try out cricket next season following the success of a national project which was introduced to the dale earlier this year.

All Stars Cricket aims to get youngsters aged five to eight picking up a bat and ball at their local cricket club.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) scheme proved hugely popular across Teesdale, with four clubs signing up – Raby Castle, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Barnard Castle and Evenwood.

It was organised locally by the Durham Cricket Board (DCB) alongside the clubs.

At the latest meeting of the Teesdale Cricket Development Group, DCB development officer Darren Brown said take-up had been fantastic, both in the dale and across the county.

At Barnard Castle CC, 77 children had signed up to All Stars, with a high level of retention.

There were 30 All Stars at Raby Castle, 28 at Middleton-in-Teesdale and nine at Evenwood.

Mr Brown said across the county, some 2,500 children had been involved in the scheme.

Next season’s All Stars launch will take place on May 17 before which Mr Brown said he would visit a number of schools, including Woodland, Bowes Hutchinson’s, Staindrop and Middleton-in-Teesdale, to outline the scheme.

He also urged the clubs involved to spread the word.

“All Stars was fantastic. The numbers across this area were excellent,” he said.

“My work at the moment is looking forward to next year and getting clubs geared up.

“Anything anyone can think of to promote it to families and kids would be welcome. We are trying to find volunteers from the cohort of parents from this year, we are looking for family volunteers and juniors.”

All Stars cricket is for all boys and girls and offers eight one-hour weekly sessions which are led by trained “activators” at each participating cricket club.

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The programme teaches the basics of batting, throwing, catching, overarm bowling, running and the spirit of cricket.

Children signing up for the first time get a back pack plus a cricket bat, ball, personalised shirt, cap and activity book.

Those returning will receive a new back pack, bat, ball, shirt, stumps and activity book.

Mr Brown said the theme of next summer’s All Stars programme would be linked to the cricket world cup, which is being staged in England.

In addition to All Stars, the Durham Cricket Board works with the national cricket charity Chance to Shine, which also aims to give all children to the chance to play and learn through the sport.

Mr Brown said Chance to Shine would be taken to Green Lane and Montalbo primary schools, in Barnard Castle.

For more details on All Stars cricket, go to www.ecb.co.uk/ play/all-stars. Details on Chance to Shine are at www.chancetoshine.org.

A SERIES of children’s cricket festivals involving four of the dale’s clubs could take place next summer.

At the latest Teesdale Cricket Development Group meeting, members discussed how to keep youngsters who had come through the All Stars programme interested in the game.

All Stars is for five to eight-year-olds and members were keen to organise something for those who would be too old for this but too young for junior cricket.

Barnard Castle CC’s John Ashworth suggested a round robin of fixtures at Barney, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Raby Castle and Evenwood CC.

It was suggested the festivals could be softball to start off with.

Members agreed to consider the idea, which will be discussed again when the cricket group reconvenes in the spring.