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WOMENS: Sussex to benefit from groundbreaking development


Tara Norris (back row, left) and Paige Scholfield (back row, third from right) pictured with the rest of the Development Camp in South Africa

Sussex will reap a double benefit from a groundbreaking development camp at Potchefstroom in South Africa for the most promising female pace bowlers in the country.

Paige Scholfield and Tara Norris are relishing the chance to hone their skills, although they were disappointed at the weekend as rain denied them the opportunity to watch Mark Robinson’s England Lions team in their latest one-day game against South Africa A.

They are among 10 youngsters, aged from 15 to 23, who have been identified as potential successors to Katherine Brunt, Anya Shrubsole and the other leaders of the England attack.

“Paige is on the second year of our MCCU Under-19 programme at Loughborough University, where she’s doing really well,” explained Salliann Briggs, the England Under-19s Head Coach who is leading the programme.

“Tara is a bit younger, in fact she’s still at school and will be coming back to South Africa quite soon as they have a trip to Cape Town.”

Norris attends the Portslade Aldridge Community Academy, and both she and Scholfield confirmed that they are loving their first South African experience.

Funding from Sport England has allowed the 10 youngsters to join a first fast bowling development camp at the High Performance Institute of Sport in Potchefstroom – where the men’s bowlers have relished the opportunities provided by high-altitude, warm-weather winter training for a while.

“It’s just been brilliant,” said Briggs, who has been assisted by the former Glamorgan seamer David Harrison and Jonathan Finch, the high performance manager for women’s and girls cricket in England.

“We’ve previously had very limited contact time during the winter. But out here we’re managing to get some high quality skill development sessions in over the 10 days, which is almost like doing three months work in less than a fortnight. That’s in addition to batting, fielding and the work with our strength and conditioning coach Jonty Norris which is a pivotal part of the camp.

“It’s been a great opportunity and experience for the girls, and we’ve seen some great progress made. This trip is an education process, it helps build their awareness of where they are and what further development goals need to be put in place.

“This pace bowling camp plays a pivotal part in our succession planning, and is important to expose the girls to different environments to develop a broad range of skills. Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole have led the England attack brilliantly for a while now, Kate Cross has come through more recently, and hopefully they’ll feature for a long time. But we hope in the near future, the bowlers here will be pushing for their places.”

“One of the main reasons we want to establish this programme long-term is to ensure we continue to provide an environment for young fast bowlers to flourish,” added Finch. “We know the physical demands that Cross, Brunt and Shrubsole have to go through and we are ensuring this group of young bowlers are prepared for the ever improving international game."

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