Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

County Reap Benefit Of Brian Johnston Memorial Trust Support For Ecb Spin Programme

County Reap Benefit Of Brian Johnston Memorial Trust Support For Ecb Spin Programme

Worcestershire's crop of spinners can call on some of the most experienced exponents of their craft for expert coaching thanks to the financial support of the Brian Johnston Memorial Trust (BJMT) in backing the ECB Elite Spin Bowling Programme.

Ben Twohig, Brett D'Oliveira, George Rhodes and even New Zealand star Mitchell Santner – plus up and coming Academy bowlers – can reap the benefits of this tie up between the BJMT and the ECB.

Worcestershire's own spin bowling coach and club legend Norman Gifford is partially funded by the BJMT and he regularly puts the County's spinners through their paces.

But the likes of ex County star Richard Illingworth, Ian Salisbury and Peter Such have also passed on their skills and vast experience to the spin bowling group thanks to the support of the BJMT.

Brian Johnston's 47 years of broadcasting, his passion for England and its great national sport of cricket, along with his irrepressible sense of fun, brought him into the hearts and minds of millions of people worldwide.

As a memorial his family, together with many eminent members of the cricketing and broadcasting world, set up a trust fund to further the causes that were close to Brian's heart.

One of those initiative supported by BJMT is the ECB spin bowling programme which has supported nearly 250 young spin bowlers over the past four years.

The programme has seen 20 players progress to play First Eleven county cricket, with several on the verge of the England Performance Programme.

Worcestershire CCCAcademy coach Elliot Wilson said: "We recently received the great news that three of our Academy players have been given some scholarship support from the Brian Johnston Memorial Trust – Ollie Westbury, Ryan Wheldon and Emily Arlott – which is one arm of what the Trust does.

"The other arm of that Trust have got involved in helping the ECB grow an elite spin bowling programme which is overseen by Peter Such and Chris Brown.

"It is financially supported by the Brian Johnston Memorial Trust which enables about a dozen identified specialist spin bowling coaches to go and visit all 18 first class counties on a regular basis and all the six University Cricket Centres Of Excellence and the MCC Young Cricketers and spend a series of weeks with them.

"They all do about 10 sessions over the winter with each county, each centre. The Brian Johnson Memorial Trust helps to fund this programme. The ECB fund it as well and the clubs themselves put in a little bit as well.

"It enables these coaches to go into the counties and spend some time with the best spin bowlers at that county, from the academy level up to the professionals.

"People like George Rhodes, Brett D'Oliveira and Ben Twohig from the professional playing staff and then Daniel Lloyd, Josh Haynes and Zen Malik from the academy have had the opportunity to spend time with Richard Illingworth, Norman Gifford and Ian Salisbury – and Peter Such and Chris Brown themselves.

"They have all been in at different times during the year and without that they wouldn't get any specialist spin bowling coaching at most counties because not many counties carry a specialist spin bowling coach.

"It's great for them to have that insight of someone who has actually been there and bowled and done it for a living, people with so much experience."

Wilson recognises the significance of Gifford, who ended his career with 2,068 first class wickets, being able to work closely with the Worcestershire spinners.

He said: "Norman works for us but part of his role with us, we are able to employ on the basis that some of his responsibilities are funded by the Trust.

"We really appreciate the support from the Brian Johnson Memorial Trust and it enables our youngest spinners from 12 years of age, a real nice group of spinners from 12-14, all the way through to your Brett D'Oliveiras playing in the first team to benefit from this experience.

"Now Mitchell Santner will be able to sit there and pick the brain of Norman Gifford this summer and, knowing Mitch, he will love that.

"He will see a bloke that has taken 2,000 plus first class wickets and go 'there is some stuff there to tap into'

"All the guys benefit from 'Giff' being around and we wouldn't be able to do that without the great support of the Brian Johnson Memorial Trust.

"To see Ben Twohig, George Rhodes, Daniel Lloyd, Josh Haynes and some of the other guys on the fringe of the academy, to see them develop under the guidance of Norman is great and it wouldn't happen without the support of the Trust supporting the Elite Spin Bowling Programme."