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BACA & PACA: Sussex Cricket and the Aldridge Academies


A new initiative to increase the number of youngsters playing cricket in the Brighton and Hove area was launched at The PROBIZ County Ground, Hove, this morning.

It is hoped that the Aldridge Cricket Academy will eventually produce players competing at the highest levels.

The venture is a unique partnership between Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA), its sister school Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA), and the Sussex Cricket Board, supported by Sussex County Cricket Club. Facilities are being developed at both schools, with plans for the development of an all-weather pitch at BACA’s Falmer site being advised upon by the professional club. The Sussex Cricket Board is providing a qualified coach, Adam Maharaj-Newman, a Sussex Premier League player with County level experience as a junior.

Students from both schools got the chance to meet some of the Sussex stars they hope to emulate on the unfortunately washed-out opening day of the LV=CC match, which is also being televised live on Sky Sports.

Former Sussex and England star James Kirtley, Ambassador for the Aldridge Cricket Academy, said: “This is a fantastic occasion for the boys and girls. To be involved with a game of such importance in front of the TV cameras is a great launch pad and I'm thoroughly looking forward to being involved with the Academy. I believe this is the start of something very special.”

Simon Funnell, SCB Cricket Development Manager said, “As a County club we are fully behind the Aldridge Cricket Academy and we’re delighted to have welcomed the youngsters to The PROBIZ for the opening day of this match. Ultimately, we hope that the Academy will go toward benefiting the first team and the Sussex women’s team”.

BACA Principal Philomena Hogg said: “We want to make cricket accessible to all girls and boys at our Academy schools regardless of age, ability or background. Our longer term aim is to develop a first class cricket academy on both sites to allow gifted cricketers to excel and compete at the highest level.”

The initiative goes well beyond the school gates to increase the opportunities to play cricket into the neighbouring communities. Coaching is being provided for younger children in the primary schools that feed into both Aldridge Academies. PACA has forged links with Portslade Cricket Club, who will offer coaching and match opportunities to promising students, whilst BACA and the Cricket Board are in discussions about setting up a new community club who could play at the Academy.

Stuart McLaughlin, Principal of PACA added,  “Our longer term goal is to create a reputation for cricket excellence at both academies. I hope that the Aldridge Cricket Academy will not only encourage all of our students to participate in more sport but also make us the choice for aspiring cricketers within Brighton and beyond.”

To find out more about the academies, please visit the BACA and PACA websites (Brighton Aldridge Community Academy/Portslade Aldridge Community Academy)

The image above shows some of the BACA and PACA children who visited an unfortunately soggy PROBIZ County Ground this morning. On the back row (L-R) are SCCC's Chris Nash, SCB Community Coach Adam Maharaj-Newman, SCCC Captain Michael Yardy and Ambassador for the Aldridge Cricket Academy and former SCCC star James Kirtley.

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