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Bourton Vale Cricket Club launch their own academy

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Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Monday, 22nd November 2021, 09:00

Lottie Oliver with her mum Katie, who served on Bourton Vale’s committee for many years and has been a long-term supporter of the club Lottie Oliver with her mum Katie, who served on Bourton Vale’s committee for many years and has been a long-term supporter of the club

Youngsters at Bourton Vale Cricket Club should have a head start when the new season gets under way in April next year.

That’s because the go-ahead club in the heart of the Cotswolds have just established their own academy with the prime purpose to prepare their junior players for adult cricket.

“They had their first session a couple of Mondays ago,” said Bourton Vale chairman Kevin Langley. “There were about 15 players taking part from the ages of 13 up to 18.”

The academy is the brainchild of 1st XI batsman Mark Whitney, who is leading the youngsters’ coaching, and Langley said it’s all about preparing for the future.

“The reason for junior cricket is to feed players into senior cricket,” he explained. “It should not become a separate entity within a club or just seen as a cash cow.”

And the club were practising what they preach even before the formation of their academy.

“We ran three teams last summer and deliberately played a number of 13- and 14-year-olds in the 3rd XI to invest in the future,” Langley added.

The academy meets at the indoor gym at Cotswold School in Bourton-on-the-Water and Whitney is being supported by other senior players from the first-team squad and also Gecko Cricket.

“All the credit for the academy goes to Mark Whitney,” said Langley senior. “He’s been with the club for a long time and is one of our best batsmen, he wants to give a bit back to the club.”

And while Whitney is certainly doing his bit for the club, the club in turn wants to do its bit in the community.

“We want to be as diverse as we possibly can,” explained Langley, “it’s something we think about a lot. We do believe we are as inclusive as we can be, we’ve just spent a significant amount of money at the front of the pavilion to make it more user friendly for disabled people.”

And there’s more to celebrate at the club because ladies’ cricket is flourishing again.

“All the credit for that should go to Lottie Oliver,” said Langley. “I thought ladies’ cricket at the club was disappearing but Lottie sent me a message saying she didn’t want it to die out and could I help. I said of course but she made it happen.”

So much so that the ladies’ team, who are coached by 1st XI player Nick Anderson and captained by Lottie, played T20 matches on most Mondays throughout the season just finished.

And what makes the role played by Lottie all the more impressive is that she is still only 17 and a pupil at Cotswold School. It would appear the future of ladies’ cricket at Bourton Vale is in very safe hands.

Other Images

Mark Whitney

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