BARTON intend putting a £600 grant from the David Shepherd Cricket Trust to work in coach education.
The Cricketfield Road side has an enviable reputation for bringing on youngsters that dates back to the early 1980s when Pakistan Test star Agha Zahid was the club’s coaching professional.
Youngsters such as Andy Hele, Andy Pugh, Pete Lucketti and Terry Farkins all went through Barton’s youth ranks and went on to play Minor Counties cricket for Devon.
One way or another they all benefited from Agha’s expertise.
“Agha helped me loads – he was brilliant with me, recalled Lucketti.
Said Farkins: “I opened the batting with Agha when I was 17.
“He did not coach me, but taught me the game.”
Youth coaching remains a priority at Barton, where chairman Jim Parker is one of its main proponents. As the Devon CB youth chairman and a long-time age-group coach and manager, Parker puts his enthusiasm into practice week in and week out.
Adam Parker, the chairman’s son and Barton’s 1st XI captain, is also an ECB-qualified coach who has worked at club and county level.
Parker junior said youth cricket continues to thrive at Barton and more coaches are needed to keep it that way.
“We need two more ECB level-two coaches, but the cost of training them is £450 each, which is prohibitive for our younger players,” said Parker.
“Thanks to the David Shepherd Cricket Trust we can subsidise the cost coach education by £300 each, which is a massive help.
“When you are running five teams from under-11 level upwards you need more coaches than the four we have got.
“The grant from the David Shepherd Cricket Trust will enable us to keep going with the high level of youth coaching Barton is renowned for.”
Matt Lipton (pictured, left), a member of Barton’s promotion-winning squad last season, has been selected for one of the coach education places.
“We have someone in mind for the other, but they are thinking of joining the armed forces so we may have to think again,” said Parker.
Barton have low-level practice sessions for their young players before Christmas then start to up the tempo in January with regular sessions at the Torquay Academy next door.
“By the time the 2020 season comes round I hope we will have two more level-two coaches at the club,” said Parker.
The David Shepherd Cricket Trust aims to plough around £20,000 a year into youth cricket at all levels from elite projects such as the Devon Lions development programme to school’s softball festivals.
To apply for a grant visit the David Shepherd Cricket Trust website www.dsct.1111.org.uk