All Stars Cricket proved popular last year at the dale’s clubs
All Stars Cricket proved popular last year at the dale’s clubs

ALL Stars Cricket is back – and this year five of the dale’s teams are hosting the coaching programme aimed at five to eight-year-olds.

The scheme, run by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) provides children with their first taste of the sport.

Last year, some 2,300 children across County Durham signed up for the eight weekly sessions, with dozens flocking to the likes of Barnard Castle CC, Raby Castle CC, Middleton-in-Teesdale CC and Evenwood CC.

At the latest meeting of the Teesdale Cricket Development Group (TCDG), Durham Cricket community coach Darren Brown said more than 1,300 kids across the county had already signed up for this year's All Stars scheme, which will start in May.

“We are flying. We are averaging about 16 or 17 per centre. We are definitely top of the north,” he said.

“We have been doing a lot of promotion through roadshows and the Chance to Shine charity.”

However, he said the two biggest selling points were through word of mouth via social media and by clubs contacting parents.

The meeting was told more than 20 had already signed up for Barnard Castle CC and numbers were starting to come in at Raby and Middleton.

Mr Brown said he expected a further spike in numbers as parents came out of “winter mode”.

In addition to the clubs which hosted All Stars last year, the meeting was told Etherley CC would be joining in this time as well.

All Stars Cricket costs £40 per child for eight sessions delivered by volunteer club coaches and helpers who have been specially trained.

Each child receives an All Stars backpack with a cricket bat, ball, personalised shirt, cap and activity book. Children who took part last year and are returning will receive a new set of kit.

Sessions focus on batting, throwing, catching, bowling overarm, running, teamwork and an introduction to the spirit of the game. Across Teesdale, the following All Stars Cricket sessions will be held:

Barnard Castle CC – Mondays, 5pm, starting Monday, May 13

Raby Castle CC – Tuesdays, 6pm, starting Tuesday, May 14

Middleton-in-Teesdale – Tuesdays, 5pm, starting Tuesday, May 14

Evenwood CC – Sundays, 10.30am, starting Sunday, May 12

Etherley CC – Sundays, 10am, starting Sunday, May 12.

Richmondshire CC is also part of the All Stars Cricket programme and will run session on Fridays at 6.15pm from Friday, May 10.

Anyone wishing to register their children for All Stars Cricket should do so via the ECB website – /all-stars.

A postcode search will sign-post parents to their nearest participating club.