Pupils, teachers and coaches braved the winter weather to experience a festive visit from England Women’s Danielle Hazell in her role as a Chance to Shine Coaching Ambassador.
This was Danni’s second visit to Leicestershire and Rutland in recent months. However, this time she returned without her sidekick and England colleague Jenny Gunn.
Temperatures at Sir John Moore Church of England Primary School, Newbold Verdon Primary School and Woolden Hill Primary
School were certainly much lower than those Danni had experienced on the recent tour of the West Indies. Luckily it did get a little warmer inside The Martin High School’s sports hall, where Danni helped coach at what is a very successful girl’s lunchtime club. This particular session was focused on bowling and Danni was able to provide to 1 to 1 coaching as well as talking to the group on best ways improve accuracy and generate pace.
Woolden Hill’s Year 6 class greeted Danni with much excitement and were treated to some fun relay races and two closely fought games of ‘3-Bat’ Cricket. They were then given the opportunity to ask Danni a host of questions which included:
- What are your ambitions after cricket?
- Favourite country to play cricket?
- Do you play any other sports?
The year 5 and 6 class at Sir John Moore C of E made their way onto the wet and muddy school field for a session featuring games such as Christmas Cricket and Diamond Cricket.
One hour later and somewhat caked in mud we made our way back into the classroom for a question and answer session. The pupils had clearly worked hard on preparing their questions with their class teacher. Questions topics included:
- Number of countries visited
- Pre-match or pre-wedding nerves – which was worse?
- The pace of Katherine Brunt
- Best cricketing experience
The class would go on to use the information gained from the thorough investigation to help them develop their literacy skills and write a biography on the England star. Classes from years 3 and 4 and years 5 and 6 at Newbold Verdon also enjoyed a similarly fun and stimulating cricket session. Again, Danni was put under the spotlight and faced another grilling from children and teachers. Subjects included:
- Favourite ground
- Age started playing cricket
- Bowling variations
- Batting or bowling preference
When asked what age she began playing cricket (12 years old) Danni highlighted the importance of the Chance to Shine programme in developing girls cricket and the new opportunities provided in both primary and secondary schools. In an effort to warm up and as a thank you after a long day in the cold, Danni was treated to a Christmas dinner shortly after the close of play.
All of the England Women Coaching Ambassadors play a crucial role in the delivery of the Chance to Shine programme’s aims by supporting and inspiring players, teachers and coaches. We thank Danielle for her input and energy during her December visit.
Heather Beattie & Tom Leonard
Cricket Development Coaches