DURHAM star Paul Collingwood took a break from the pressures of returning to the pinnacle of his game yesterday to support a ground-breaking new college course for talented young cricketers.
The former England captain gave his full backing to Gateshead College’s new Cricket Development Centre which opens its doors in September.
He said: “It’s fantastic news for young people who are looking to continue to play cricket after leaving school.
“The centre will provide more opportunities for young people to receive training and compete in cricket while gaining an education.”
Durham Cricket Board will give students at the college the chance to train alongside professional players and one of the students who will benefit from the centre is 17-year-old Anthony Spencer, from Boldon.
He said: “I think the new centre is a brilliant idea and I’m really excited about it’s opening in September. I’m going to be able to study while gaining playing experience and training from some of the region’s top coaches.”
The Cricket Development Centre, based at Gateshead College’s multi-million pound Academy for Sport, will provide a two-year programme for 16-18 year olds.
They will receive nine hours training each week from Durham County’s cricket community coach and Gateshead College’s Academy for Sport coaches, which will include video analysis, nutrition, physiotherapy, strength and conditioning, technical and tactical training as well as net practice.
The college will be offering Level 2 and a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Cricket Studies from September and students will also study towards the Level 1 Coaching qualification.
There are 24 spaces in the Cricket Development Centre and members will be able to pursue work experience and volunteering with Durham Cricket Board in order to provide them with the best possible career prospects on qualifying.
Lewis Pendleton, sports academy manager at the college, said:”We are committed to offering young people the best possible sport opportunities and will ensure that all of our cricket students gain the knowledge, experience and skills needed to succeed in their future careers.”
Gateshead College also has a Men’s Football Development Centre and academies in women’s football, basketball, golf, rugby, netball and athletics.