Sports fest for young ballers

Jan van Riebeeck Primary School s Owen Wiese ready to connect with the bat during the cricket mini festival.

pictures: lonwabo marele

More than eight teams were invited to the festival, including the Green Point Cricket Club, United Cricket Club, Khayelitsha Cricket Club, Bergvliet Primary School, Sonwabo Primary School from Gugulethu and a couple of schools from Parow.

Founder and former West Indies fielding coach, Ryan Maron, said the cricket school has been around for more than 19 years, with the aim of coaching youngsters from the grassroot level.

“The cricket school was launched in 1999, over the last 19 years we have been offering basic programmes such as holiday clinics, private coaching and group coaching,” he said.

Maron said they have done a few under-11 tournaments, with the chance of giving the grassroots an opportunity to come and express their skills and their sportsmanship, while having a bit of fun.

“It’s the beginning of the season so I thought it’s a good time to get the dust off the cricket bats and get the boys excited for the cricket season.

“So we started this Cricket School of Excellence mini festival, and we have also included the mini-netball girls which is just great to give the girls an opportunity to play a bit of sport on this platform and hopefully it will grow from strength to strength,” he said.

Maron said the initiative has opened a gateway for boosting more cricketers from previously disadvantaged areas.

“We have a few clubs, United Cricket Club and Greenpoint Cricket Club, and we have a few schools involved as well.

“Over the past 12 years we have been working with Khayelitsha Cricket Club, two of their teams are here today, and we have also got a coronation of sponsored teams and schools from Parow, so this is a great opportunity for the guys to put smiles on their faces and have fun in the sun in a healthy environment because that is what sports is about,” he said.

Former provincial netball player and the founder of Netball Academy, Lushinka Nash, said netball has been her passion for many years and watching youngsters play at the mini festival was delightful.

“I decided I wanted to expand my wings and teach the kids about the game that I love.

“I started the netball clinics on Saturdays and school holiday clinics, and finally we got to do an awesome clinic with Ryan Maron and it is so nice to join the boys and the girls in this sporting environment.

“We were able to get four teams today, however, this is the first of many to come and we will definitely be bringing more teams in the future,” she said.

Sonwabo Primary School coach, Nceba File, said the mini festival benefits the youngsters.

“The tournament was fun and the kids really enjoyed it. We need more of this because it benefits the kids.

“Although they are still learning to play, the most important thing was the enjoyment. Because of the weather we were not playing, but at least summer is approaching so the weather will be favourable for us to play,” he said.

Bergvliet Primary School’s allrounder, Chayse Manuel, 9, said the mini festival was fun but they need to improve on their fielding.