The MCC Foundation has launched a new cricket hub for Brighton to be hosted at the Sir Rod Aldridge Cricket Centre at Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA). The Foundation (MCCF) is the charitable arm of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) the most famous cricket club in the world and the owner of Lord’s, universally acknowledged as the Home of Cricket.
This cricket-coaching programme is for exceptional young athletes from state schools within Brighton and Hove and the surrounding area. All coaching is provided free of charge by highly experienced Level 3 and 4 coaches with County and International coaching backgrounds. It is funded by generous donors – private individuals and grant-making charities – who wish to ensure that state-educated pupils are offered the same opportunities to play cricket to a high standard as their peers in independent schools.
In 2011 the MCCF launched a coaching programme to address the decline of talented children from state schools progressing into club cricket and representing county sides. The Foundation has stated that it believes that this decline is reflected in the make-up of the England cricket team, “65% of whom come from the independent schooling sector, despite this educating only 7% of the population.”
The Foundation identifies children who have the ability to become good cricketers and provides them with mentoring and high-quality coaching. The MCCF Hub initiative now supports 41 Hub programmes nationally and, in 2016, engaged with over 1000 participants, many of whom progressed to district and county sides, as well as becoming valued and enthusiastic members of their local cricket clubs.
The MCCF usually approaches independent schools to act as host facilities, but in the case of the Brighton Hub, the Sir Rod Aldridge Cricket Centre at BACA provides a high-class, specialist cricket facility at a local state school for many different community groups to access. The £1.8m indoor and outdoor facility was opened by Sir Rod and former England Captain Charlotte Edwards in June 2016.
All participants who attend the MCCF Hub programme will be carefully monitored and supported throughout their time on the programme, and will be given opportunities to develop their skills and hopefully progress to the County Pathways Programme. They will also be introduced to Strength & Conditioning and Mobility sessions by specialist County coaches.
Opportunities to play matches against other MCC Foundation Hubs and some local opposition will also be offered so that tactical, mental and game-sense is developed during the season.