Cricket knows no boundary

2nd May 2008 at 01:00
It's a bit more nippy than the Indian subcontinent - but the locals don't seem to notice

It's a bit more nippy than the Indian subcontinent - but the locals don't seem to notice.

Luckily, what Newcastle lacks in suitable weather, it more than makes up for in top-class cricket training, with the result that the lure of Tyneside now reaches to the Far East.

Melanie Abeysinghe, 21, a Sri Lankan national women's player, is the latest recruit to Newcastle College's certificate in higher education in cricket coaching.

The college says the one-year course will give her an internationally recognised qualification that will allow her to teach cricket in any of the major cricket-playing nations.

The cricket coaching programme has drawn players from countries including Pakistan and Malawi. The effect has been to boost the take-up of the game locally, as the foreign players visit schools and community organisations.

Tony Robson, who runs the local authority-funded Newcastle Cricket Development Scheme, said: "We have a few women's teams in the area, and they're finding it lots of fun.

"The women already have a lot of skills they can bring to the game, because it is so similar in terms of some of the skills needed in many games traditionally played by girls - like netball, rounders and hockey.

"Schools often put teams out with half boys and half girls - and because you're not trying to get the ball off each other, they are fairly well- matched."

The college's cricket tutors work closely with Durham County Cricket Club. Both the club and the Newcastle Cricket Development Scheme have been supporting the coach-training course with practical sessions, and the chance to practise the skills learnt at the college.

The course includes a large element of sport science, including nutrition, physical performance and psychology, as well as business management skills, such as the ability to promote sporting activity to increase public participation.

Ms Abeysinghe said: "I would like to thank all of the people that have helped me with the course.

"I am having a great time on the course as it is so much fun, but wonderful experience at the same time."

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