Winter project in full swing

A four-week winter clinic hosted by the JP21 Foundation is aimed at developing the skills of talented young cricketers from Mitchell’s Plain schools.

Hosted at the Western Province Cricket Club in Rondebosch, the programme runs annually between the last two Sundays in July and the first two Sundays in August for around 70 children handpicked by the coaches across all the age groups in the league.

Jamaine Cloete, project manager for the foundation says the programme started in 2015.

“It is an opportunity for us to focus on specialised skills and individual training, also engaging the children in a more meaningful way in terms of life skills,” says Cloete.

The foundation was also able to provide the young stars with trainers donated to the Foundation by ENS Africa.

For the second session held on Sunday, some of the promising young girls from the league also joined the sessions for specialised training.

“What is also encouraging is to see how many parents join in and watch the training sessions. This is a world class venue and our kids have the opportunity to come and use this venue and facilities,” says Cloete.

The children were selected based on a combination of academic results, cricketing performance and potential and their social behaviour­.

Natheer Wagner, foundation coordinator and coach says the cricket bug has bit since the inception of the project.

“The sport has grown so much that we have a number of girls playing in the teams now and the numbers are growing,” he says.

“Many of the children selected today are the captains of their teams and what they learn here, they take back to their schools so there is a constant development.”

Chontal White, whose daughter, Leah, plays for in the league attended the session and thanked the foundation for the opportunity.

“Every opportunity helps. If she excels at this then it will only be for her benefit. She started this year and is quite keen on cricket. She likes soccer and hopes to be a part of the league. She will make full use of this opportunity,” says Chontal.

U.11 captain of the JP21 hub team Diego Boezak from Parkhurst Primary school has been with the programme since it started four years ago. He hopes to use the opportunity to learn all he can to enable him to become a professional cricketer, he says.

“We learn a lot at the clinic. Not only cricket but also life skills. I want to play cricket one day and I want to be good at batting and bowling,” he says,

He was inspired to play at a young age and shares the passion with his father, Nigel, who is also a coach with the foundation.

The league starts in October and the programme is aimed at keeping the children active in preparation for the season.

Provincial MEC of Cultural Affairs and Sport Anroux Marais also visited the clinic on Sunday.