Josh Hickman takes on head of cricket role at Stratford Cricket Club
STRATFORD CC’s new head of cricket Josh Hickman is looking forward to giving something back to the club that started his own cricketing journey.
Hickman joined the Panthers as a nine-year-old in 2005 and has been a regular fixture down at Swans Nest Lane ever since.
And now he’s got the role of driving the club forward in the direction it wants to go as part of a new integrated relationship with Stratford Sports Club.
“This role is really exciting, I started my Stratford journey as a nine-year-old back in 2005 and so I’m really passionate about the club,” Hickman told the Herald.
“I played throughout the junior section and have played in all of the senior teams.
“This club has so much history and such a rich heritage in the town. The iconic home ground at Swans Nest Lane is located in the heart of the town and although I’m clearly biased, is surely one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the area.
"It’s a great opportunity for me to give back to the club that helped start my own cricketing journey all those years ago. I’m really looking forward to helping the club grow and what can be achieved over the next few years.”
One of the key targets for Hickman is to develop a structured and balanced cricket programme that gives opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to play the sport.
On top of that, Hickman will be responsible for creating and facilitating an environment where both senior and junior players can improve and develop.
“Within this, I will be structuring and planning the training programme for both senior and junior sections and offering additional support where required to help players succeed out on the field,” added Hickman.
There are plenty more targets that Hickman would like to hit during his tenure as head of cricket, with plans to grow the senior membership, build on the success of the Sunday Smash team as well as expanding the junior section.
“I’m confident that over the next couple of years we can significantly grow our junior membership numbers, we are already seeing some very positive indications that some of this growth will occur in 2021,” said Hickman.
“We want to regularly run successful All Stars and Dynamos programmes.
"We have entered two new junior sides into competitions for this summer on top of our existing three and hopefully with membership growth, we will be able to enter more new sides into competitions.
“On top of this we want to focus more on the development of our junior players and make sure they all have access to a fun and engaging coaching environment.”
Keeping juniors interested is always a hard task and one of the aims for Hickman is to ensure Stratford are offering their younger members plenty of activities to enable them to stay at Swans Nest Lane and progress through the ranks.
The club also wants to start a girls’ section this year while a women’s cricket section is on the horizon as well.
“If we want to be a modern and relevant cricket club that offers cricket opportunities for all, then this is absolutely essential,” said Hickman.
“Our priority is to get girls regularly playing and enjoying cricket at Stratford. As we progress, we can start to form teams and provide regular competitive opportunities.
"This is something we will put a lot of focus in this year to get up and running.”
Hickman added: “I think Stratford can develop a very positive reputation as a club that offers opportunities for everyone, irrespective of ability, whether you want to play high level competitive cricket or just more socially.
“There are lots of very successful cricket clubs in the area, but I believe there is no reason why Stratford cannot become one of the leading clubs in the area in terms of what we can offer.”