Friday, 18 June 2021

Cricket legend shares his skills with Henley girls

FORMER England cricketer Matthew Hoggard led a training session for 23 members of Henley Cricket Club's girls' squad

FORMER England cricketer Matthew Hoggard led a training session for 23 members of Henley Cricket Club's girls' squad.

The 38-year-old, who retired in 2013, spent almost two hours with them at the club's grounds in Matson Drive last Saturday morning.

He taught them different bowling techniques using the club's nets then put them through a series of fielding drills on the green.

The girls, who were aged between 7 and 17, asked him questions about his career and crowded round him as he signed their bats and notepads.

They queued up to be photographed with him on their mobile phones and shared the pictures with their friends on social media sites.

Hoggard's visit was the top prize in a competition organised by appliance manufacturer AEG, which the club won last year.

It was also presented with new cricket whites and a washing machine.

Damaris Hayward, manager of the girls' squad, said: "The girls have had an absolutely amazing morning.

"Matthew was a great teacher as he brought an enormous sense of fun to the session while delivering some very important lessons.

"He is a tremendous bowler so hopefully the girls will have drawn on his experience and learned some new skills.

"It's a huge inspiration to have someone of Matthew's standing at the club and it raises the profile of girls' and women's cricket in general.

"The visit was confirmed last year so the girls have had plenty of time to get excited in the build-up to it.

"Quite a few parents have popped down as well - some of them told me they were more excited about it than their daughters!"

Hoggard, who was captain of Leicestershire from 2010 until his retirement, said: "It's been brilliant to see so many kids enjoying cricket.

"I've been lucky enough to be able to play international cricket so it's very important for me to put something back into the sport at grassroots level.

"It'll take a little while for all the skills to sink in but they had a go at everything and showed a lot of enthusiasm, which was encouraging.

"I've driven through Henley before but this is the first time I've been to the cricket club. It's a lovely ground and it'd be great to come back.

"I did see some real talent but at that age it's all about enjoyment. There's plenty of time for them to hone their skills - you just want to see smiles on their faces."

Henley Cricket Club's girls' team was started in 2012. Since then its membership has increased from six to 37.

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