Due to a lack of equipment, the training and coaching sessions at Matching Green Cricket Club in Epping Forest were not reaching their full potential. As the club only had one practice net, only six young people could take part in net practice at a time. Thanks to a Small Grant awarded to the club by the Jack Petchey Foundation, the club were able to buy a new portable practice net which has improved their practice sessions significantly.
Whilst the original practice net is a very useful facility, the artificial surface does not behave in the same way as a grass pitch, and therefore does not reflect a true likeness to match play. The portable net system can now be erected on the grass cricket square which means practice now replicates match play. The new net can be used safely whist other coaching is taking place over the rest of the playing field and doubles the amount of members who can take part in net practice.
The young members really enjoy net practice as it gives them the freedom to hit the cricket ball as hard as they can without causing damage. Club Captain Martin Figg said “There [was] always a 'scramble' for the one net we have, so a second one has been of great benefit to the club.” The young people love practising in the new net and excitedly wheeled it out onto the pitch the day after it arrived. To have two operational nets available as part of the club’s coaching strategy has had a great impact on the quality and variety of their practice sessions and will help the young members to become great cricket players.
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