North West Coaching: Cricket Ireland

Brian Allen is Cricket Ireland’s Regional Development Officer for the North West Cricket Union. Here is an overview of Brian’s role and the work he has conducted since taking up the post in January 2012.


Much of Brian’s time has been spent establishing sustainable club links with schools that provide the backbone of NW clubs’ youth team structures. In this time schools all around the North West have been provided with a much-needed boost with this year witnessing the re-introduction of the regional Kwik Cricket Festivals. The festivals allowed the opportunity for each school to partake in competitive matches and showcase a local cricket ground, with festivals taking place at Coleraine CC, Strabane CC, Eglinton CC and Limavady CC. In previous tournaments Kwik Cricket teams consisted of 8 players, of which 2 needed to be girls. Due to the levels of enthusiasm shown by female participants and taking into account Cricket Ireland’s Strategic Plan for this area, this year’s festivals witnessed both boys’ and girls’ tournaments. A total of 460 participants took part in the festivals, of which 293 were male and 167 were female.


The Kwik Cricket Festivals are one of the most effective methods of exposing the youngsters to a fun and competitive environment; with the overall aim being to enable clubs to establish lasting school links. The Regional Development Officer has the task of delivering cricket to the schools until the school/ club links are sufficiently established. It is envisioned the local club will ensure the sustainability of cricket in the schools for the future. Brian’s role will be to monitor these links and ensure they remain and develop.


Another major on-going task is to liaise with the local clubs and assist with the development of club structures, volunteer management and the coaching workforce. As the clubs in the North West are instrumental in developing future talented cricketers it is then important that the clubs are not neglected and cricket is given the ideal conditions for growth. 


The current pathway that exists for talented cricketers in the North West involves the best players at each age level being nominated by clubs to attend Regional Development Squad sessions. These sessions are held throughout the winter and see the participants train on a ‘best  vs  best’ basis. Players then have the opportunity of earning their place on their respective Interprovincial team who compete against Leinster, Munster and the Northern Cricket Unions in the annual Interprovincial tournaments. 


Brian will be responsible for overseeing this process right from the grass roots school programme through to the elite performers, with the aid of a strong group of regional coaches who strive to ensure that each individual is given the opportunity to reach their full potential.