In addition to the recruitment of two full-time Development roles within the Northern Cricket Union, the Union is now able to announce another major step forward in the ongoing expansion of its cricket development team.
It has been agreed that the duties of Simon Johnston, the current Knights Men’s Head Coach, will be expanded into a fulltime role until the end of 2020. This expansion will positively impact on the programmes and activities of the NCU male and female representative programmes. This has been made possible by the NCU Board agreeing to utilise NCU resources to supplement Cricket Ireland’s contribution to the Knights Head Coach role.
In addition to the Senior Knights Men’s squad, which now contains nine Senior or Wolves Cricket Ireland players, Simon will positively impact on the coaching programmes within the Knights Senior Women, Emerging Knights, Andrew White Academy, NCU/UU Girls Academy and the talented players from the various boys and girls regional age groups squads.
With the expansion of the Senior Knights Men’s program, a full schedule of Emerging Knights fixtures, 30 of the boys’ national youth players now coming from the Union, and 3 NCU Women in the national programmes, it was imperative that a dedicated resource was allocated to the performance program to ensure that our most talented players receive the correct level of coaching and support to further enhance their development.
Simon was instrumental in the creation of the current regional development program back in 2013 and has intimate knowledge of all the players involved in the various squads. He has just recently started his level four coaching award which will further enhance his capability and impact positively on the Union’s talented players within the regional performance system.
Simon’s appointment brings to six the number of full time staff employed by the Northern Cricket Union. In addition, there are now over twenty coaches who are regularly involved in the Union’s Regional Development Program.
This winter has seen over 350 children attend the indoor coaching sessions, the benefits of which are reflected in the number of players now being selected for the national youth squads.