Shenfield High School

Shenfield in the top 100 schools for Cricket

Shenfield High School is today celebrating after being named as one of the country’s leading cricket schools by The Cricketer – the world’s number one and bestselling cricket magazine.It has been selected on the prestigious list, alongside leading independent schools Eton, Harrow and Millfield, known as “The Playing Fields of England: An A-Z Guide to the Summer Game’s Top 100 schools”. The final 100 were chosen from a long list of 450 schools and a shortlist of 150 of the very best cricketing schools.

There is further reason for celebration when you breakdown the statistics; only 10 of the schools named are non-independent and only 5 are non-selective state schools. So as well as competing with the best and most prestigious private schools, Shenfield High School also sit in the top 5 state schools for Cricket provision in the Country. This success is mainly down to Head of PE Garry Sapsford, whose hard work, passion and dedication over the last 20 years has seen his schools meteoric rise to the top. Since the introduction of the Cricket Academy in 2013 provisions have only improved and would rival any school set up.

Pupils within the Academy gain year round specialist coaching that includes multiple benefits. Many of the sessions are led by professionals such as Matthew Salisbury and Catherine Dalton. With a 6 week strength and conditioning program led by Connor Browne, Essex CCCs lead coach. Pupils are put through their level 1 qualification and those who seek further excellence complete their Level 2 once they turn 18. This year saw our first bi-annual overseas tour to Cape Town, South Africa to which we will return in February 2017. As well as this, all players complete a pre-season tour to the South Coast and play the likes of Eastbourne College and the Universities 1st X1. This trip also includes a guided tour of the University of Brighton, one of the best training institutes in the Country.

As well as this excellent provision, for those who look to further develop their skills and cricketing careers, the lower school also benefits from this passion and drive for excellence. In particular the girls program has yielded outstanding results over the past 3 years with lots of success at County, Regional and National level.

  • In 2014 the U’13 girls won the ‘Chance to shine’ Nationals final held in Birmingham for the schools 11th National title.
  • In 2014 and 2015 the U’15 side reached the National T20 hardball competition finals day. This year narrowly missing out by 3 runs to a strong South Dartmoor side (also listed in the publication).
  • The U’15 team then lost by 4 runs in the National Semi-Final for the U’15 ‘Chance to Shine’ competition, losing to the same Dartmoor side, although all but one of the team were still  only U’14 or younger.
  • Both the U’13 and U’15 sides have won their respective Essex Cups for the past 4 years. As well as this the U’15 side are unbeaten at County level within indoor Cricket for the past 3 years.

There are now more girls playing cricket than ever before, with lots joining local clubs as a result. Mr Bennett who leads cricket at Shenfield has recently agreed in principle to coach the girls cricket section at Hutton CC for the 2016 season. This is another example of the fantastic links with local clubs, as both he and Garry Sapsford also coach at Shenfield CC on a Thursday and Friday evening. Due to these excellent links pupils are encouraged to join local clubs and the Academy benefit from using their excellent facilities.

The future of Shenfield cricket looks bright and with the ‘Junior Cricket Academy’ imminent, provision across the school looks set to get even better. This Junior Academy program will look to provide specialist coaching at least once a fortnight for a carefully selected group of cricketers. With the aim of progressing those into District and County set ups, as well as preparing them for the full sixth form program. Many of the current pupils will be looking to emulate the likes of Matthew Salisbury who was a professional at Essex CCC. Matt is currently in New Zealand playing first cricket, which will see him snapped up by a County on his return.