Lord's and the Marylebone Cricket Club Foundation (MCCF) are welcoming elite young cricketers from MCCF Cricket Hubs across the UK for a specialist coaching day on Thursday 28 August.
Children aged 11-15 years from 14 of the Foundation’s 19 elite coaching Hubs will travel to the Home of Cricket to enjoy various training sessions delivered by specialist coaches.
There will be different sessions taking place across the outfield and Nursery Ground, as well as Laws and MCC Spirit of Cricket elements delivered in the J.P. Morgan Media Centre.
The fourteen Hubs visiting Lord’s hail from right across England and Wales – from Newcastle and York in the north to Eastbourne and Taunton in the south.
The MCCF Cricket Hubs were set up in 2011 to tackle the decline of talented children from state schools graduating into representative and higher club cricket.
In 1975, 70% of England Test cricketers playing in the Ashes Series were from state schools. In 2013, that had dropped to just 35%, despite state schools educating 93% of the school population.
The MCC Foundation's aim is to discover and unlock the talent of children in state schools by giving them the same opportunity and quality resources of children in independent schools.
Many public schools are helping to "even up the playing field" by donating their facilities free of charge to the Foundation's Hubs across the country.
Cricket clubs are essential to the success of the Hub concept, with a high percentage of Hub children migrating into local clubs, where their progress is monitored. Many Hub coaches are also coaches at the clubs ensuring a smooth transition for the children from Hub to Club.
Six pilot Hubs were developed in 2011, aimed at providing free, top quality cricket coaching to U13s and U15s. There are now 19 Hubs nationwide from Newcastle to Taunton, and the Foundation aims to have 30 by 2015.
The first Girls’ Hub, to be based at Felsted School in Essex, will be launched in Autumn this year.
Charles Fry, Chairman of the MCC Foundation, said: "We are very much looking forward to welcoming some of the children from our Hubs to the Home of Cricket. In the last 40 years the proportion of state school players within county academies and national teams has reduced significantly.
"The Hubs are designed to try and address this and we have seen the initiative continue to grow over the past four years. We have a very exciting period coming up and this day is the start of it. I hope all the children have a great day – I’m sure they will gain a great deal from this opportunity."