As 2022 draws to a close, it marks an exciting new chapter at Poulton CC. I’m delighted to have been appointed as Youth Section Manager at the recent AGM so want to introduce myself to you all and share our plans for 2023.
I have been a volunteer helper for the last few years as my two sons play for Poulton CC. My husband Rob and I supported Gaby with U9s in 2021 and coordinated Under 11s with Will in 2022. I also help out behind the bar and am a qualified first aider for the club. Rob supported the groundsmen last season and has recently qualified as a Level 1 foundation coach. He is also now Honorary Secretary, elected at the AGM this year. So you could say that ‘Team Ireland’ are ‘all in’ for Poulton CC!!
Some may think us mad, but the reality is we are immensely grateful for all the club has offered our family since we settled back in the Cotswolds in 2018. Although I don’t play cricket, I have spent a lifetime watching and helping our extended family in their various cricketing interests. In my professional role as Therapy Lead at a nearby brain injury unit, I coordinate services, mentor and manage staff and communicate with a wide range of people to make things happen. I will use these skills as best I can to assist Will and the committee to value the contributions of our fantastic volunteers and grow our youth section in the year ahead.
What will Poulton CC offer in 2023?
We have a fantastic coaching team and now have 10 qualified coaches plus additional support coaches and inspiring Senior players who will be giving their time on a voluntary basis to support the future stars of our club in youth training and fixtures next season. Our format will be slightly different to previous years so that we can share key coaching skills across age groups and create a more vibrant collaborative approach to our weekly age group training.
How will this new format work?
In 2023, I will be on hand at Youth training as a point of contact to coordinate the sessions and work with the coaches and Club Captain to help arrange fixtures. Each age group will have an allocated Lead Coach with additional support and skills coaches/players to maximise each child’s enjoyment and build their confidence in the game. Safety is really important to us and in line with ECB guidance all our volunteers will be DBS checked, we have dedicated Safeguarding officers and all Youth sessions will have a qualified first aider so you can feel confident that your children are in safe hands.
Our ethos is ‘Cricket for All’ - this inclusive approach gives everyone the chance to get involved and play games. We will carefully consider the different opportunities within the region at league level, to ensure we choose the right fit for each age group. We will build on the links that we have already forged with other clubs in our area to arrange friendly fixtures across all Youth teams and we hope to attend and perhaps even host Youth festivals.
We also recognise the importance of celebrating the successes of our Youth players representing us at Zonal and County level next season, so we will give them the chance to host their County teams for a fixture at Poulton CC. What could be better than having your Poulton teammates and coaches cheering you on from the boundary?! There is substantial investment in the ground and facilities at Poulton CC in 2023 so it really is a place to be extremely proud to call ‘home’.
What happens next?
Before the outdoor season starts in the Spring, we will be developing our school and community engagement strategy. We will approach local schools to offer taster coaching sessions to show them just how brilliant Poulton CC is and encourage new players to join us. We will also offer ‘warm up’ indoor nets sessions at Farmors school in Fairford to bring the Youth teams together and start to rebuild technical skills whilst having lots of fun. Our committee and coaching teams will meet to get everything agreed and key dates outlined so that this can be shared with you all as we recognise that having clear communication helps busy families keep on track and enjoy the summer season!
How can you help us?
So that all sounds pretty awesome, but there’s lots of work behind the scenes to make it happen! I want to take this opportunity to say a MASSIVE thank you to all the volunteer coaches, players, parents and helpers who stepped up in 2022: we had some amazing games and so many highlights, we can’t begin to list them all here! To make 2023 even better we will be counting on your support once again so watch out for further news early in 2023. Rather than spam you with Spond posts and WhatsApp messages, I will provide regular newsletter updates as the 2023 season approaches – this will be linked to our website and social media platforms so you can access it whenever it suits you best. Meanwhile, you can contact me via email with any queries, ideas and (fingers crossed) offers of help.
Have a sparkling festive season and I look forward to sharing a merry and bright 2023 with you all at Poulton CC!
With Warm Wishes,
Lucy Ireland, PoultonYouthManager@gmail.com