There can be few more delightful settings for cricket than the grounds at Canford. The school Cricket Club aims to ensure that all pupils who enjoy the game have a fulfilling and memorable school cricket career in these wonderful surroundings.
The Club pursues this mission by providing as much competitive cricket as possible through a challenging school fixtures list, as well as keenly fought house match competitions. These fixtures are designed to provide an outlet for talent at all levels. Recent school results have been highly encouraging, including victories against schools with a much larger pool of players from which to draw their teams.
The Club aims to ensure that each cricketer develops his skills to their full potential. A number of present and former pupils have played at junior level for county and area teams, and for their local clubs. There is a programme of winter coaching in the Sports Centre at both squad and individual level. During the season, training takes place in both grass and artificial nets, and there are regular middle practices on the five pitches within the school grounds. Facilities are excellent and a range of activities and equipment are employed throughout the club.
Expert coaching is provided by Matt Keech (a qualified ECB tutor and former professional cricketer). Matt joined Canford in 2012 having spent 12 years as a professional cricketer with Hampshire and Middlesex (winning the County Championship with Middlesex). After retiring, he has coached at various clubs around the world including teams in Australia and New Zealand. Closer to home, Matt has been the 1st XI team coach with Bournemouth University and is currently Dorset Head Coach overseeing all youth cricket. His role is principally with the 1st XI, though he and Julian Shackleton work with all age groups and abilities. Julian (formerly of Gloucestershire and Hampshire) has been with the school many years, as was his father, Derek Shackleton, before him. The Shackleton Trophy is contested every year between the 1st XI and the Dorset U19 Development XI. Our team managers (a number of whom are keen and talented cricketers themselves) encourage the development of technical skills, tactical awareness and a genuine affinity with the spirit of cricket: we ensure that sportsmanship, positive play and an identification with team achievement are seen as at least as important as individual success.
There has been much recent interest in overseas touring. In 2006 the club enjoyed a developmental tour to St Lucia in the Caribbean. In 2009 the club voyaged to South Africa with great success, winning five out of seven matches and learning a great deal about different styles of cricket. Canford is the only English school to have won the Sir Garry Sobers cup.
The Cricket Club is also keen to encourage interest among Canford girls, entering local paired-cricket competitions. In addition, the Under-10 Prep School Tournament in June is a fast and furious festival of emerging talent that each year introduces a new generation to the delights of cricket at Canford.
MATT KEECH - HEAD COACH
Playing career: Hampshire, Middlesex. Head of Dorset Emerging Player Programme.
JULIAN SHACKLETON - CRICKET PROFESSIONAL
Playing career: Dorset, Gloucestershire Coaching career:Dorset development sides: U25, U21, U19.
Individual coaching sessions are available for Prep Schools with Year 5 pupils and above.