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Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Andrew Flintoff took time off from bowling out the Aussies to
visit his Cricket Academy at Bolton School.
The England all-rounder landed by helicopter on the School's
lacrosse pitch and quickly developed a bond with the school
children as he threw himself into the training programme - although
not too vigorously as he prepares himself for next week's third
Test in the Ashes Series! After offering some expert advice,
guidance and encouragement, he held a questions and answers session
with the participants before signing autographs and chatting
further to the children.
The 109 boys and girls, aged 5-16 and of all levels of ability,
have been enjoying a fantastic opportunity to learn cricket the
Andrew Flintoff way as they take part in his one-week Cricket
Academy at the School. The week is one of fourteen academies taking
place across the UK. "Freddie" has had real input into the
week-long course, which is made up of lots of cricket, Freddie
Challenges, swimming sessions and mini-tournaments, with a number
of prizes and awards being given out.
The aim of the academies is to inspire an early interest in
cricket and they are suitable for anyone that enjoys the game.
Cricket has given me so much and my academy is the perfect way for
me to pass on the passion and love I have for the game.
During the questions and answers session, Flintoff talked
candidly about his career, citing his father as his biggest
influence and recalling playing his first game for Lancashire U11s
at the age of 9. He said he started off as a batter and still
prefers batting to bowling. He talked about having had a number of
injuries throughout his career and of having four operations on his
ankle alone - his current injury he said is as bad as any. He has a
preference for 20/20 cricket over Test cricket, enjoying the fact
that, at the age of 31, he only has to bowl 4 overs and then "you
can have a bit of a slog!". His favourite ground is Old Trafford
but thinks the best cricketing arena in the world is Lords.
Looking forward to his last three Test matches he hoped he could
secure one more century for England. He felt the Ashes was going to
be very close but that England were in a strong position. He said
of the 2005 victory, "it was the most amazing feeling ever to win
Approximately half of the course participants were boys from
Bolton School, particularly from the Junior School. Bertie Moores,
a Year 7 pupil at the School said: "I can't fault this course, it
has been lots of fun and I've also learnt all sorts of new tricks
and techniques that I will be able to use in School cricket."
The Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy is run by Activate Sport in
partnership with The Cooperative Food and is co-sponsored by
Barclays Capital and Puma. The coaching was delivered by 10 ECB
qualified coaches. Luke Sutton, who is wicket keeper for Lancashire
as well as being part of the Activate Sport team said: "It is a
great pleasure for us to be able to run Freddie's Academy at such
an exciting time for English cricket and at such a great venue like
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