The physical development of students at the Yorkshire Cricket College at Headingley was being further boosted today (Friday) with the fitting out of the new gymnasium facility located in the East Stand of Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s headquarters.

The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, the charitable arm of Yorkshire CCC, have been able to press along with the work, thanks in part to a three-year plan by YCCC Players’ Association to provide funding for the Cricket College via the Foundation.

At Yorkshire’s recent Championship match against Essex at Headingley, a cheque for £1,000 was handed over to the Foundation’s education manager, Nick Robinson, by former world famous umpire, Dickie Bird, a founder member of the Players’ Association.

It was the second part of a three-year plan by the Association to provide funding worth a total of £3,000.

In thanking the Association, Robinson said: “The Yorkshire Cricket College, based at Headingley cricket ground, was established in 2017. The first intake saw 16 students enrol to study a two-year Level 3 Sport and Physical Activity qualification which is equivalent to three A-Levels. Student numbers have increased year-on-year to where we are today, with 77 learners across both year groups starting the 2022-23 academic year.

“As well as providing 16 to 18-year-olds with a qualification that enables progression to universities, apprenticeships and careers in sport, the programme builds cricket into their timetable. In total, groups are allocated six-hours per week to focus on their cricketing development.

“Their sports curriculum doesn’t just focus on improving their execution of an off-drive or seam position when bowling, though. It is the College’s responsibility to ensure all aspects of the game are covered. Students benefit from sports psychology sessions, performance analysis to break down technical skills, tactical reflection of match day performances as well as physical development to improve strength, balance, coordination and agility.

“The funding from the Players’ Association has played a massive part in the completion of our new gym facility for the college. Their backing has allowed us to procure a wide range of equipment that will facilitate physical development, not just to increase cricketing performance, but also provide a physical foundation and understanding of how to stay fit and healthy as the students enter adulthood.”

Players’ Association secretary, Geoff Cope, who is also president of Yorkshire CCC, commented: “The Association and its members are delighted to be involved in the development of students at the College. It is important that those young cricketers who are learning the game within the county are provided with the best of facilities and we will be delighted if some of them can go on and play cricket for Yorkshire and become household names like Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Harry Brook.”

Also during the match with Essex, the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation’s Heritage manager, Charlotte Hughes, officially received for the cricket museum a cap which originally belonged to Yorkshire and England cricketing great, Wilfred Rhodes, who scored 31,075 runs and captured 3,598 wickets for his native county in a career which spanned 1898-1930.

The cap, on display in the museum from earlier this season, was presented to the Foundation by Mrs. Rachael Attwell, the daughter of the late David Drabble who founded along with his father the Sheffield Cricket Lovers’ Society in 1960.

The cap had been given to David by Wilfred Rhodes when he had once spoken at a meeting of the Association and it came into Rachael’s possession when he father died in 2019.

In handing over the cap, Rachael said: “It is a very important piece of cricket memorabilia and may have fetched a considerable sum of money had it been sold, but I knew that my dad would prefer it to be on display in the museum at Headingley where it can be seen by all who are interested in Yorkshire’s rich history.”

DAVID WARNER

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