AW Barnes Primary hosts cricket clinic for juniors thanks to Pretoria-based company
YOUNG cricketers from AW Barnes Primary School benefited from an afternoon of skills development during a mini-cricket clinic run by IXU community on Tuesday.
Friend of the school, Alan Fritz, who serves as the executive responsible for business development at IXU (stockist of cricket equipment and apparel based in Pretoria), said he decided to point the company towards AW Barnes because of his vested interest in East London.
The mini-cricket clinic catered for 11 U13 boys at AW Barnes who have been playing cricket for one or two years.
“We came here and ran clinics at top schools like Selborne, Hudson Park, Stirling, Dale and Grey PE, but aim to plough back our excess revenue into assisting underprivileged schools and youngsters,” Fritz said.
“A lot of talent gets lost if it is not nurtured early on. Partnering with these schools allows them to be able to compete against established schools. If youngsters have a strong set-up at primary school level, coaches need only focus on techniques when they get to high school because they have the basics right,” Fritz said.
IXU coach Theo van Heese, who has coached primary school cricket for seven years and coached Northerns teams for four years, said the afternoon focus on pre-match warm-ups, fielding skills, post-match cool-downs and new drills for the coach. He noticed the lack of facilities at the school and stressed the need to begin with basic equipment and, in the long run invest in nets, where pupils can practice bowling and batting on the school premises.
AW Barnes cricket coach, Kevin Bennett said: “The mini-cricket programme gives the boys some excitement for the season ahead. It also exposes IXU to the need in the area. It is a massive benefit for boys to learn from a coach from the Northerns team.”
Principal Geoffrey Gamiet was enthusiastic about the new partnership with IXU, but emphasised the need for equipment to be able to build up cricket as an established sport at the school.
“There is much potential at AW Barnes and the energy and passion is here, but the biggest hindrance is the lack of facilities, said Gamiet, himself a keen cricketer and cricket administrator in his day.
Fritz said the programme would not be a once-off. “I am hoping IXU will send bats, balls and equipment so the sport can grow as well as bring in more players of big names to motivate the boys. We will continue to keep track of their progress,” Fritz said.