WITH competitive Island cricket set to make its welcome return, following the relaxation of Covid restrictions, preparation for young players got underway in the form of the Isle of Wight Cricket Challenge.

Hosted at Ryde School, head coach Andy Woodward took 118 young cricketers through their paces with a full weekend of coaching recently.

Isle of Wight County Press: Lucy Taylor bowling. Photo: Kate BartonLucy Taylor bowling. Photo: Kate Barton

The hour-long sessions focussed on easing players back into the basic skills of batting, bowling and fielding.

Andy said it was an important first step out of the restrictions ahead of the new season.

Isle of Wight County Press: Harry Everard bowling. Photo: Andrew JasperHarry Everard bowling. Photo: Andrew Jasper

“It was really amazing to see so many young cricketers out there enjoying the sport we all love.

“It was plain to see the enthusiasm the kids brought to these sessions. I know our coaches were also delighted to get back out there.

“Hopefully, we can all now look forward to a great summer of cricket.”

Isle of Wight County Press: Oscar Vandecasteele hitting balls in the nets. Photo: Andrew JasperOscar Vandecasteele hitting balls in the nets. Photo: Andrew Jasper

The Isle of Wight Cricket Challenge, devised by Andy and his team, has been helping to provide some cricket-based skill challenges, via social media, to young Island cricketers throughout the lockdown periods of the past 12 months.

The challenge has also caught the eye of the ECB — featuring on the official ECB icoachcricket website.