When we setup our coaching programs back in 2012 we wanted make a difference locally by offering keen young cricketers a good facility backed up by quality coaching; and it's rewarding on a daily basis seeing the enjoyment and progression of so many young players... but you can't help having an overwhelming sense of pride when you see an 11 year old grow into not only a great young man but also a top class cricketer making their way through the ranks to national honours!
This week Ben Cliff was named in the England Lions (u19s) touring squad who jet off to Sri Lanka later this month. Subsequently our friends at Icon Sports have stepped in to support Ben with new kits including new bat, protective gear and a fancy pair of blue pads for the short format games! Clinton Perren, Icon's business manager and coincidently one of our Ultimate Academy's high level coaches in his spare time added "as a company it gives us great pleasure in providing support to young aspiring players like Ben, it's a great honour to play for your country and we're just happy to support him"
Ben started with our Ultimate Academy back in 2014, and as a keen young cricketer from Copley Cricket Club Ben showed a great attitude and loads of potential as fast bowler from this young age. Over the years Ben has been well supported by Copley Cricket Club, who also saw Oliver Hannon-Dalby rise through their ranks to pro level, and programs run by us at The Cricket Asylum and the Halifax Junior Cricket League, who unlike all other leagues around offer coaching opportunities throughout the whole winter, giving local players the chance to gain extra time in the nets and develop alongside other keen young players.
All this support has helped Ben and others develop their game as seen on the honours board, but going from strength to strength Ben made the North of England team at u15s and more recently gained a place on the Yorkshire CCC Academy. As Ben well knows, getting better never stops and this is just another step, albeit a big one, towards his dream of being a professional Cricketer. Ever humble and grounded, Ben has offered to come and support the winter coaching that is being run for the Halifax Junior Cricket League in the New Year.
Ben's really grateful for the support "I've really appreciated all the support the asylum has given me over the years, going back to Steve Oldham in the early days and more recently lots of work with Scott Kershaw it's been amazing and I love all the work TCA do with the foundation. And to get this new support from Icon is just amazing. now I'm just looking forward to playing some cricket in the sun!" he added.
Well done Ben, go smash it in Sri Lanka! Loads of wickets and hopefully a few sixes with that beast of an Icon bat you've got your hands on!