Tuesday 31 July 2007 

Durham's Callum Thorp Helps MCC Look For New Talent

As England and India battle it out in the npower Test Series, MCC is doing its bit to help identify cricketers of the future. Throughout August, MCC is holding cricket camps for aspiring young players in twelve areas across England and Wales.

The summer camps are part of the MCC Spirit of Cricket Challenge – an initiative to encourage primary school children to take an interest in cricket and start playing the game. The Challenge is funded jointly by MCC and The Foundation for Sport and the Arts, and was nominated for Best Grassroots Initiative at the 2006 Sport Industry Awards.

Durham’s Callum Thorp and the former England fast bowler David Lawrence will be among a host of professional cricketers who will offer tips and present prizes at each of the camps over the coming month – starting this week in Newcastle, Yorkshire and Berkshire.

“This initiative is about encouraging young people to take up cricket, and to play in the right spirit from the very start,” said John Stephenson, the former England, Hampshire and Essex all-rounder, who is now Head of Cricket at MCC. “We receive great support from past and present cricketers, and are very grateful to the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) for providing players to help us get the message across.”

Stephenson continued: “Youth cricket is thriving up and down the country. Many of the children that we see at the MCC Spirit of Cricket camps are - with the help of MCC funding - going on to play for local clubs, where they continue to enjoy the game and develop their skills.”

The MCC Spirit of Cricket Challenge comprises four different stages of activity. Initially, a qualified MCC Spirit of Cricket coach visits selected schools before organising an inter-school tournament. Teachers from all local schools are invited to attend a basic cricket coaching course intended to give them the skills and confidence to begin, or to continue, coaching cricket in their respective schools. Finally, during the summer holiday, a three-day fun cricket camp is held at a suitable venue. Crucially, any child who wishes to continue playing after the camp is encouraged to join a local cricket club, and may apply to have their first year’s subscription paid by MCC.

© MCC