A West Wales cricket club is seeing a boom in youth participation – thanks to a man who revived the junior section a quarter of a century after being one of the last players through the club’s junior ranks before they closed.
Kidwelly Cricket Club now has teams at under-9, 10, 11, and 12 age group, with plans for an under-14 team to start next year.
Andrew Bailey was among the last players to come through the club’s junior ranks before the section closed in the mid- 1980s. Having moved away, he returned to Kidwelly 10 years ago, and after starting to play cricket again, he relaunched the junior section in 2010.
“It’s really important to bring on the next generation of players,” he said. “We’ve now got two qualified coaches, and the programme is working well. It’s a contrast with what I remember, when there was just one junior team, and no proper coaching.”
The junior programme is producing high quality players, with six representing their county, and Andrew’s son Owen being selected for the Wales U11s.
The club’s reputation as a thriving hub of junior cricket has been recognised by its being chosen to host the Carmarthenshire Primary Schools Festival on June 8th.
Andrew, aged 48, is vice-chairman of the club and head coach. “I still play occasionally, too,” he added. “But I’m trying to retire.”
Peter Hybart, chief executive of our client, Cricket Wales, said: “It’s gratifying to see the progress at Kidwelly, since Andrew revived the junior programme. The game depends on a flow of properly-coached young players coming through, and this is a great example of what can be achieved when committed volunteers step up.”
Cricket Wales is the national governing body for junior and recreational senior cricket in Wales. It works closely with Glamorgan County Cricket Club, which governs the men’s professional game. For information visit www.cricketwales.org.uk