East Devon coach honoured for outstanding contribution to youth cricket development
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A Devon youth cricket coach has been recognised for his outstanding contribution in helping to find and de-velop the sport’s stars of the future.
During a summer in which England beat India 4-1 in the test series, East Devon’s Steve Walker has been continuing the quest to talent spot the youngsters who will follow in the footsteps of players like Alistair Cook and Jimmy Anderson.
For the last five years, Steve has been running East Devon age group teams, and many of those players have made it into the Devon squad.
Current Somerset bowlers Craig and Jamie Overton, Lewis Gregory and Dom Bess all came through the same system, and both Craig and Dom have gone on to represent the England test match team.
The England and Wales cricket board (ECB) invited Steve to collect his award from England bowling coach, and former test player, Chris Silverwood at a recent test match.
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“The award came totally out of the blue and I still have no idea who nominated me,” said Steve
“I am proud of what we have achieved with some extremely talented young players in Devon. It really helps to have so many local role models for them to follow, hopefully all the way into the professional game.”
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Steve has also helped advise the Devon Cricket Board in developing a new strategy for youth cricket.
The district system is being replaced with a countywide performance and development programme, ensuring that all talented players are given the same opportunities - irrespective of where they live in the county, or what school they attend.
“We want to encourage as many local youngsters as possible to pick up a bat and ball and give it a go,” said Steve, who works for Cooper Associates in Taunton - based just a six-hit away from the Somerset cricket ground.
“The Ashes and the cricket world cup are being staged in England and Wales next year, and there’s no doubt that they will inspire a new generation of young players.”
“Devon has the right structure to ensure that they are spotted and helped to reach their full potential.”