Mansfield Hosiery Mills have got it right when it comes to the Ashes, according to former England fast bowler Matthew Hoggard – and he should know.
The 26-year-old, who was part of the England team that won back the Ashes after 18 years in 2005, paid Notts Premier League Hosiery Mills a visit on Saturday morning.
As part of the ECB Club Open Days, Hoggard – still playing at Leicestershire – held a question and answer session and assisted with coaching club juniors.
It also coincided with the fourth day of the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge, and with coverage on at the club, Hoggard admitted it was the perfect place to be.
“It was great to see so many youngsters and there was a game in the afternoon, the Ashes was on the TV,” said Hoggard, who played 67 Test matches for England.
“I had a group Q&A and there was some training going on and the reaction was very good, there were lots of kids, lots of parents and we all enjoyed the atmosphere.
“I watched the two adult teams warm up and a little bit of the Test match, it was fantastic. Kids come down who haven’t played cricket before and potentially want to get involved and that is exactly what it is all about.
“There were kids as young as five and six, there was a four-year-old, and getting them in early is what it is all about. It is ideal for kids and it is great to see the buzz the Ashes generates.”
And Hoggard, who took 248 Test wickets during his international career, admits the more ECB Club Open Days that can take place at Mansfield Hosiery Mills and around the country the better.
“Obviously the social network is fantastic and people come down and enjoy other peoples company, it was great to see everything organised and hopefully it can inspire people to come down again,” he added.
“There is a focus on grass roots but you still need money to make the world go around and people spending money on the barbeque or in the bar is very important to the interests of the club.”
Matthew Hoggard is supporting the ECB’s Club Open Days initiative. For more information visit www.ecb.co.uk/clubopendays.
Picture by Richard Parkes.