James Carr, the new Emerald Headingley based Regional Director of Women’s Cricket for the North East and Yorkshire, says he is relishing the opportunity to fill the “blank canvas” which has been put in front of him.
Carr is the head of one of the eight new Regional Centres of Excellence brought in by the ECB alongside the new Hundred competition to drive the women’s game forward in this country.
They are; North East (incorporating Yorkshire), North West, West Midlands, East Midlands, South West and Wales, South Central, London and South East and London and East.
Carr started his new role – the women’s equivalent to Martyn Moxon – late last month, coinciding exactly with the UK going into nationwide lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
He has not yet spent a day in post at Headingley, although did manage to drive down to the ground to pick up some work essentials.
“I went to Headingley on the Sunday night ahead of my first day and one of the fellas in the gatehouse just popped a laptop through the gates and said, ‘Good luck!’,” he chuckled.
“Since then, I’ve been working from home with video conferencing and such.”
Carr’s experience in cricket development and the female game is extensive.
Whisper it quietly, but he originates from the other side of the Pennines, with Bolton League (then Bolton Association) club Golborne the one he calls home. It is the club where current Nottinghamshire captain Steven Mullaney first roamed the boundary watching his father.
In terms of his coaching and development work within cricket, he has spent the best part of the last four years with the Southland Cricket Association in New Zealand and with Cricket Scotland in Edinburgh.
It has set him up perfectly to take on this new challenge of leading the advancement of women’s and girls cricket within Yorkshire and the North East.
“I’m hugely excited,” he said. “The women’s game is a massive growth area, and I’m all about growth and developing people.
“I want to put my time and energy into something where you can see a real return on that.
“The fact we’ve got this national goal to really transform women’s and girls cricket, the ECB’s vision ties in perfectly with my own.
“It’s awesome because it’s a blank canvas.
“It’s an area which perhaps doesn’t have the history and traditions the men’s game has, and it can use that to its advantage to progress through the modern world.”
With a blank canvas comes obvious potential, but it can also provide challenges, accepts Carr.
He continued: “Not everybody is great with change, but what we have to make sure is that we communicate and educate well within our current cricket fraternity.
“A lot of this has been inside led.