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Thursday, 28 July 2016
Lancashire bowler Glen Chapple was the guest start at the Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy held at Bolton School. This week-long summer camp run by Activate Sport used Bolton School’s facilities to coach sixty children between the ages of six and fourteen and help them to improve their cricket skills. Activities include the unique “Freddie Challenges”, small-sided games, Cricket Olympics and World Cup Day. The Academy has been visiting Bolton School each summer since 2009.
Chapple’s visit was one of the highlights of the week. He spoke to the children about different kinds of bowling and demonstrated a few techniques, including swing bowling. He also bowled against a few of the camp participants, much to their delight, and offered personal tips to young bowlers as they showed off their moves.
He gave a brief summary of his career from his very beginnings as a six-year-old playing on the Under-12s team – something that would not be allowed today – through to his inclusion on the Lancashire youth squads, and on into professional cricket. He mentioned his One Day International against Ireland and his record first-class century, coming off just 27 balls, though he explained that this unusual feat for a bowler was set up in order to set up a declaration.
This was followed by a lively question and answer session. The children asked about a variety of topics, from his first bat to the most challenging cricketers he had ever come up against, to whether or not he had ever played against Andrew Flintoff himself. He replied that he didn’t think he had, as they had played for the same team, but that they were good friends. He was asked about the speed of his fastest ball, which he bowled at over 90 miles an hour! Chapple also discussed the amount of travel involved in first-class cricket and how much training the Lancashire team does in an average week.
One of the most interesting questions he was posed was how long it took to perfect his bowling skills. He replied that they are not perfect yet, as all skills take practise and players have to be dedicated and focused in order to improve. He added, “The trick is getting good enough while you’re still fit enough to play.”
This fascinating insight into the world of first-class cricket was really inspiring for the youngsters at the Cricket Academy.
The children had the opportunity to have their shirts and bats signed by Chapple before he departed.
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