Community coach puts focus on youth

Rory Banks
Rory Banks

Rory Banks says he is loving putting Borders youth cricket back on the map in his new role as the region’s community coach.

The 22-year-old from Selkirk was appointed to the new role, part-funded by six clubs in the Borders in mid-February, and has been introducing the sport to hundreds of schoolchildren.

And he hopes his efforts will lead to more youngsters taking up cricket.

Rory said: “I am thoroughly enjoying it and the kids are as well. It has been a real positive experience.

“The key is to now get the kids to continue to play cricket at Borders clubs.

“You see the number of them playing in the recent Selkirk Rhinos rugby tournament and if we could even attract a fraction of those numbers we would have lots of youngsters coming through.

“If we can encourage children and their parents to take part in cricket, the sport can have a bright future.”

Selkirk, Gala, Kelso, Melrose, Hawick and St Boswells all signed up to support the community coach post, with a new under-14 league also set up this season.

Since he started two months ago, Rory has been coaching as well as studying for his final year sports science degree dissertation at Napier University in Edinburgh.

Rory said: “I have had to miss some classes because of the coaching, but my lecturers have been very supportive because I am working as a coach.

“I have done a lot of coaching in different sports and I think that experience has helped me.”

Stevie Halls, chairman of the Scottish Borders Junior Cricket Development Group, added: “Rory has made a good impression in the schools he has visited so far and we hope he can help more Borders youngsters take their first step towards a lifelong association with our clubs.”

Rory will also act as vice-captain this season for Selkirk CC, who will open their season away to Largo 2nds in East Division Two on April 26 after two successive promotions.

And the all-rounder has high hopes for the season. He told us: “We are aiming for promotion again.

“Our bowling and fielding have been excellent the last two seasons and if we can improve our batting we will stand a good chance of going up.”

Rory hosts a free Easter cricket camp on Thursday, April 17, at Gala Cricket Club for children in primaries four to seven. For more information, contact Rory (email roryb_7@hotmail.co.uk or phone 07557 997594).