School sport is becoming increasingly professional in its outlook and it was with this in mind that a squad of pupils met during the Easter break to commence pre-season training in Cardiff. Mr Powell had arranged a packed three days of activities designed to develop both cricket skills and team cohesion.
The day started at the Glamorgan Indoor Cricket Centre at Sophia Gardens, home of the county cricket side. Bowlers and batters all had a chance to spend two hours honing their skills and receiving coaching. In the second hour, the squad was joined in the hall by the Glamorgan team who were preparing for a match. This gave the boys the opportunity to see professional players training and they were keen to pick up as much as they could. Off-spinner Andrew Salter kindly gave up some time to help coach the Dean Close spin twins, James Schubach and Louis Fleming. Following a debrief and some lunch, the team decamped to the Cardiff City Football ground indoor 3G pitch for an intensive fielding and Strength & Conditioning session. The final activity of the day was a trip to the Cardiff White Water centre for a chance to do some rafting. After a long day, the boys were happy to finish with some supper and an early night.
The squad returned to Sophia Gardens on Wednesday morning to do another two hour net session. They were joined by Mr Gethin Smart from Cardiff Metropolitan University who took some footage which was to be used in a later analysis session. A surprise guest also dropped by to give the team a few encouraging words. Sir Alistair Cook is a legend of the game and the boys were thrilled at having the opportunity to meet and chat with him before he went to play for Essex against Glamorgan. Following the nets, the boys decamped once again to our lunch venue and a chance to watch some of the 50 over match taking place at Sophia Gardens. The team then moved to Cardiff Metropolitan University in the early afternoon for a video analysis session which allowed the boys to look carefully at their techniques. This was a nice change of pace following the high energy of the activities up to this point. The day was rounded off with a visit to the Principality (formally Millennium) Stadium. This iconic stadium has seen a whole host of epic sporting encounters and the team were able to draw inspiration from the surroundings. They even had a chance to sit in the Royal Box.
The tour ended with a practice match against Llandaff Cathedral School at the beautiful St Fagan’s Ground. This was a chance to get some real cricket under their belts before the season began in earnest. It was a very useful exercise with eight bowlers getting a chance to turn their arm over.
Director of Cricket, Mike Powell, said “We shall see how this season pans out but the Dean Close 1st XI squad did themselves proud on the tour by being determined to take as much as they could from these three days.”
Many thanks to Mr Powell, Mr Jenkins, Mr Mochan and Mrs Gore for their work in planning and enabling the trip.