New cricket academy in Midlands

2008-09-18 00:00

A new cricket academy is adding to the burgeoning number of opportunities available to keen sportsmen and sportswomen in the Midlands to perfect their game.

Garry Hampson and Paul Atkins have launched the HA Cricket Academy, which will be based at Cordwalles School, but will also hold sessions at Collegians Club, Varsity Oval and in outlying towns.

“The aim of the project is to take coaching to a higher level, so with the wealth of playing and coaching experience on offer, young cricketers will be able to progress both technically and tactically,” Atkins told The Witness yesterday.

“We also cater for first-time cricketers who want to take the first steps towards a productive career in the game.”

Foremost is the determination, Atkins said, to instil in students the concept that cricket is about having fun in a healthy environment. To deliver on their promise, the academy has assembled a staff of coaches who have all played the game at first-class level.

Hampson (31) is manager of playing affairs for KZN Inland, represents the province on the field and holds a Level 3 Cricket South Africa coaching qualification, while Atkins (42) represented Surrey and more recently Buckinghamshire and KZN Inland in a long career, only recently halted due to a knee injury. Atkins also boasts an England and Wales Cricket Board Level 3 coaching qualification and at local level has recently been appointed mentor of the KZN Inland U19 and women’s sides for the new season.

The young coaching guns are current Dolphins-contracted cricketer Morné van Vuuren (25) and Inland quickie Oliver Humphries (21).

“The country districts will also benefit as coaching sessions and camps have already been established in Eston, Winterton, Ladysmith and Richmond,” said Atkins. “This is vital as there is talent in the country areas of KZN.”

Atkins said there are also plans in place to bring the Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff Academy to the capital city to coincide with England’s three-month tour of SA from November 2009.

“There are a number of exciting ventures in the pipeline in this regard and the HA Cricket Academy believes the future is bright for the region’s youngsters,” Atkins added.

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