WITH the cricket season looking increasingly like it will be shut down this summer — or at the very least, severely disrupted — top coaches and club captains on the Isle of Wight have joined forces to create a competition to help keep the Island’s cricketing community engaged in the sport during coronavirus.

The brainchild of ECB-trained coach and ex-pro cricketer, Andy Woodward, a series of seven videos have been produced to challenge junior and adult cricketers to score points across various skill disciplines — the Isle of Wight Cricket Challenge.

Isle of Wight County Press: Top Island coach Andy Woodward, who came up with the Isle of Wight Cricket Challenge. Top Island coach Andy Woodward, who came up with the Isle of Wight Cricket Challenge.

Andy has brought in the likes of Ventnor CC wicketkeeper, Ross Whyte, Andy Day (Ryde), Benji White (Shanklin), coach Henry Edwards and player, Ben Attrill, to create their own challenges.

The drills — wicketkeeping, batting, catching, bowling and fielding — have a scoring system, with scorecards to complete, with accompanying video to validate them.

For example, Andy demonstrates a front foot off-drive, aiming to hit a ball between two cans, while Benji, who opens the bowling attack for Shanklin, bowls three overs from a three-step run-up, seeing how many times he can hit the stumps.

Isle of Wight County Press: Ryde Cricket Club skipper Andy Day throws balls for his son, Nathan, in front, to catch — one of the Isle of Wight Cricket Challenge elements.Ryde Cricket Club skipper Andy Day throws balls for his son, Nathan, in front, to catch — one of the Isle of Wight Cricket Challenge elements.

Family members are required to assist in the challenge.

Such has been the positive response so far, schools on the Island, mainland and the Channel Islands have adopted the challenge, with thousands of views already racked up.

Isle of Wight County Press: Shanklin Cricket Club captain, Benji White, demonstrating the bowling element of the Isle of Wight Cricket Challenge. Shanklin Cricket Club captain, Benji White, demonstrating the bowling element of the Isle of Wight Cricket Challenge.

The Isle of Wight Cricket Challenge has also caught the attention of the ECB, which has put it on its official coaching website and icoach app.

Andy, the Isle of Wight Cricket Board’s head of performance, said: “We are potentially looking at the whole cricket season being cancelled, or at least, severely disrupted, so as a group this was a real concern, as a lot of young players could miss out.

Isle of Wight County Press: Leading Is;and coach, Andy Woodward, demonstrates an off-drive as part of the Isle of Wight Cricket Challenge. Leading Is;and coach, Andy Woodward, demonstrates an off-drive as part of the Isle of Wight Cricket Challenge.

“This is is a project a few of us, who enjoy cricket, hope will keep the Island cricket community engaged and in touch with each other, as well as provide some competition between friends, clubmates and family.

“We wanted to give people a bit of cricket they can do within the government guidelines, with limited access to space and kit.

“With regards to scoring, our team will review the clips against the scorecard to double check the submission.

“So far, we’ve had some really creative responses, using gardens, driveways and safe spaces in cul-de-sacs, with kit fashioned from household items.

“The reaction has been great so far. We hoped we would get maybe 50 people to look at it and maybe six to ten take it up, but so far, we are pushing over 2,00 views.

“We want as many people as possible to get involved — players of all levels, as well as their families.

“We are passionate about cricket on the Island and believe the challenge offers a welcome distraction, develops skills and adds competition during these difficult times.”

Andy Day, also the Isle of Wight School Games organiser, was delighted by how well the challenge has been received.

“It is a fantastic resource for pupils and families to use. The challenges involve some of the skills they would usually be doing during PE lessons.”

To join in the challenge, go to: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJvxGYRV7vqSkvoF5TVrj6w

#Stay Safe #Protect the NHS #Stay at Home