Northamptonshire cricketer Olly Stone visited students at Drayon Park School this week to offer them encouragement in becoming sports stars of the future, writes Liam Andrews.
The event was organised by ‘Chance to Shine’ with help from Milton Keynes College sports leaders, who helped to get the youngsters involved in a day of cricket and healthy eating activities.
The 19-year-old cricketer and Paralympic fencer Gabi Down were there to motivate the children and offer advice on how to make your sports dreams a reality.
Stone and fellow Northants ace Ben Duckett – who will be playing for Stony Stratford Cricket Club this summer – was called up to the England U19s squad for their tour to South Africa earlier this year.
That was on the back of his performances for Northants in the second half of the 2012 season, leading to him signing a new two-year deal with the county last July.
“I think it’s important just to get out to help the children and show our face to help the little ones to learn as much as they can,” said Stone.
“Hopefully they can get a lot out of it because it’s good to be part of it. Maybe if they are good we will see one or two future cricket stars for Northampton, but they are still young and learning.
“Hopefully in a few years time they will be where I am, or maybe even better and be able to play for England.”
The occasion consisted of learning cricket skills outside, and then about healthy eating inside. The Drayton Park kids also enjoyed t-shirt painting.
MK College sports leaders were on hand to assist in any way they could to make sure the students had an enjoyable and active day.
Cliff Simms of the Bucks Cricket Board, who run the ‘Chance to Shine’ campaign, said: “For me, every cricketer and every sportsman starts from playing sport at schools and today is the first chance for some of these children to actually have a go at playing cricket.
“Hopefully, from a cricket board perspective and from a pro cricketer’s perspective, we would want them to play at their schools and join local clubs.
“That way they will only get better and better – that’s why we are here, because we want to help them do it.”