Newsletter ... anticipating another rewarding cricket season.


Wow …. Haven’t we all been treated to some exhilarating recent Test Match, One Day and T20 Cricket. The boundaries of expectation in stroke play and bowling skills between one form and the other are constantly being interlinked, making for some wonderful, and at times breathtaking, viewing.

So who and which performances or technique have caught your imagination?

Many recent conversations can be found revolving around technique method and application, timing, rhythm, balance, shot selection and class (which unlike form, we all know is permanent!) Then there is consistency and presence. Conversations have centred on current top players such as Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler – Steve Smith, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green – Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant – Aidan Markram, Dean Elgar – Kane Williamson, Tom Latham – Babar Azam, Azhar Ali – Shai Hope and drawing comparisons with the technical qualities of recent former top players such as Alastair Cooke, Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott – Kumar Sangakara, Mahela Jayawardene – Brendan McCullum – AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla – Misbah Ul Haq, Younis Khan. Each of the above, in their own styles, have proved wonderfully invigorating performers.

Also worth the viewings have been those contributions from Faf du Plessis,, Kraig Brathwaite, Dimuth Karunaratne –

Of the bowlers strong records are being set by: Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes – Mitchel Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon – Kangiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi – Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner – with the likes of the following always worth the viewing:- Ryan Harris – Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander – Ranngana Herath.

Most if not all the above, in common with the best practitioners in any walk of life, have strength of character, inner drive, desire and emotional control. None more evident than in MS Dhoni who had it in spades – that special calmness of persona and demeanour which hallmarks achievers. No coincidence that together with coach Gary Kirsten, India rose to the top in all forms of the game.


In amongst a flurry of fifties and nearing twenty centuries by Willowmasters Coaching participants – the most interesting and in many ways rewarding was the century scored by a 13 year old at County representative level. All Centuries are special and all our participants both former and current are keenly followed but this one was an immense tribute to a young man who has worked incredibly hard, with an inner resolve and belief and strong focus. Not all sessions have been achieving ones and yet as with the best of sporting achievers, he has ridden those occasional disappointments and redoubled his determination. Much of this clearly has been hard yards from a basic technical and tactical start-point. So the accolades of success are thoroughly deserved.

Spare a thought for the club player who reached 95 with one ball left in the innings. Yes of course … he went for broke. He was just adding one more to his lengthening list !!

Pleasing was another club player (Premier Div’n) who after a slow start scored 363 runs in four innings which included consecutive centuries. That’s the way to set the record straight.

At Junior age group levels, we are particularly pleased to receive reports of so many success stories and probably most of all by the youngster who has retired or finished not out in all but two matches over eighteen played so far including reprsentative games.


Much detail and focused work culminated in 85% of our coaching participants reaching their County and Representative goals and we take great pride and feel privileged in being invited to continue that work with those and all our age group cricketers. We take pride also in those we have helped to move on to the First Class game and are delighted also to continue our work with leading Premier Division players as well as all those who love our wonderful game, enjoying their cricket at many different levels.


News just in of one of our highly talented cricketers – a strong prospect to move in to the professional game, who is having a blast in Australia and recently took his team into the U21 Finals with a not out 89 completing the victory with 3 consecutive straight sixes.

We welcome the return of one of our most talented young players with a great future, from his time in Sri Lanka where he was able to revel in his and his hero’s cricketing heritage. And why wouldn’t Kumar Sangakara and Mahela Jayawardene not be top of most peoples’ lists.

NEWS for the recent Season

So as the season has unfolded what particularly caught our attention was as follows:-

159 not out by a young 1st team opener. Pretty good eh! Yes – but even more impressive when we reveal that this was his first ever Century. And not just that – after untangling himself from the personal and emotional high of a landmark achievement he put all that behind him continuing in cool controlled manner to an even higher value achievement.

How many of us push at our own performance boundaries


A 93 not out by a mid order County Under 11 who had never scored a Half Century. Couldn’t quite reach a sensational hundred despite pressing hard to the close, after reaching his Fifty. Another great mindset in a young lad who through his coaching work came to understand his strengths and realise his scoring potential.

An 89 not out in 56 deliveries. This was a special match winning innings of power and placement most notable for experienced club colleagues comments such as:-

“… Jack is playing proper cricket here with quality cricket shots”

_____ “ _____ “

A slowish start to the new cricket season was the result of weather affected pitches and games. This certainly helped our bowlers, a number of whom enjoyed economical and rewarding wicket taking spells. We particularly enjoyed one over which went – wicket … dot … wicket … run out … dot … wicket.

As always, early season damp conditions just held up the teams batsmen from being able to move smoothly into their batting rhythm. A number of tight low scoring matches were played out.

Notwithstanding all this, there were a number of decent (in the conditions) scores. And as International Cricket Coaches will often remind us, it is not always about the big numbers. A winning contribution to a team’s victory can come from a seemingly minor passage of play or a patient partnership (batting or bowling)


In addition to our regularly available facilities in Kent, Sussex and Surrey – Willowmasters is pleased to advise our Surrey participants of the availability of a new cricket coaching facility This is in the Epsom/Kingston area of *Surrey*and can be available weekday evenings and weekends for your vital pre-season specialist coaching sessions.

We welcome even more enquiries from all Senior and Junior Club and Representative County Cricketers living/playing in South and South West London, North and Mid Surrey.


IMMENSELY PROUD to top off our end of year coaching with the great news that our many County age group players with whom we have worked for a number of years – were successful in retaining their places – and that five newcomers have secured selection and will thoroughly enjoy the privilege and experience of County Cricket during 2014.

We are proud to have worked with you and congratulate you on the fully merited reward for all your hard work, focus and determination.

Well the big scores have kept on coming in this season:-

Our great pleasure and pride is in sharing the major personal achievements by all our participants many of whom take particular delight in texting through their performances (both good and not so good). Imagine then the message from a teenager we have had the privilege to work with for 10 years. Having given notice for the last 5 years of something a bit special while churning out big scores, in addition to 100’s each season at all levels, he has now given notice at the highest level (so far) posting his first Premier Division Century.

Similarly others we have worked hard with, over a number of years have all moved up this year to personal milestones. Many have achieved their first centuries or their first half century this season, perhaps most notable amongst whom has been the young man who repeatedly struggled to get out of the mid 30’s until finally remaining more relaxed while holding focus was thrilled to realize his full potential with the big one – his FIRST CENTURY.

Many of our participants this year have worked to place a higher premium on their wicket in whatever format taking especial pride in performance to walk off undefeated not out.

Even at National 20.20 competition level this can be achieved and to the benefit of the team – as in one case where we have a hard hitting yet technically proficient cricketer who has an average of 90+ having rescued his side on at least three occasions..

Mid Season and despite occasionally indifferent pitch conditions, our participants have now amassed 14 Centuries between them. Additional to these have been those scoring half centuries and of equal pride have been those scoring personal bests. Three have moved recently from below 30 scores to above 50 and in one case on to 84 not out. A great result and a great day for each of them.

How is your season going? ~ Can you do more ~ Do you want better?

Another of our young 20 somethings playing and opening at the top level has scored a big HUNDRED – a winning score finishing not out.

Well HOW AMAZING was this news which greeted us this week. 3 of our winter coaching programme participants each scored a CENTURY with one scoring 2 – back to back. No these are different guys from the ones below from another county.

Congrats to three of our coaching participants who have scored FOUR CENTURIES between them and to one who has scored over 220 runs in 3 knocks. Another set his season under way with a 75 and a 3 ‘fer’

Early News

Delighted to congratulate one of our coaching participants who set himself to be selected from amongst a large squad of prospectives for a prestigious inaugural T20 in Sri Lanka. Thanks to a clear focus on batting techniques and driving each session towards his goal for selection – all that hard work paid off and realized a dream. The report back to us was of a great tournament including matches at The Premedasa International Stadium and The SSC Stadium with participating teams from England, Sri Lanka, India, South Africa, Pakistan and the UAE. A fantastic experience and great news.

Other reports have reached us of successful cricket tours and winter cricket seasons overseas in Australia, South Africa and the West Indies. Wonderful milestones for which a lot of intense and focused preparation also had taken place.


Always worth catching thoughts and comments made by the highest performers in any walk of sport or life.
One which struck a chord recently was made by a highly respected international golfer – who said :-

Let your best attitude influence your game – not game variations distract your attitude

Thinking about mindsets – are we programmed to achieve only to certain levels of judgement and do we accept that – or do we believe, that with specific focused repeated practise, we can raise those judgement skills?


The good news for this week is that – amongst club batsmen playing at Premiership / Championship / and 1st Division levels in the South East – 5 who have sought midweek refresher sessions to rediscover form and timing have all made scores between 50 and 100.

So after a tricky and for many a stop start early season – we are now seeing some consistency coming through both with bowlers and batters.

To date we have witnessed a Premier Division century which proved to be a match winner (always the most satisfying) as well as 6 others.

It was a great pleasure to welcome back 3 players who called in for refresher sessions and then went out to post quality scores. Happy to say that, that has been our experience on a high percentage of occasions over the years and is a source of great pride. We are always keen to follow the fortunes of our coaching participants wherever or whenever they are playing – both bowling and batting.

Our coaching participants this year have now pushed on with an ever increasing number of good scores and personal bests. The best naturally have been those match winning innings constructed under extremely bowler friendly conditions by Premier Division players. The best pitting themselves against the best.


And so: FANTASTIC NEWS – Virtually all current and previous coaching participants have moved toward achieving their personal goals.
Amongst these there are now

3 previously or currently appearing at England Age Group level.

1 who has gone forward to Regional England trials.

4 now appearing at either full or County 2nd XI level.

1 who has shown full commitment since last autumn and has been rewarded with County Youth selection – celebrating with a match half century. Since then a number of important scores have been made – amongst the best being a hard earned match winning 93.

Another younger South London player has achieved his dream of 1st team selection at three levels of school, club and now county area.

1 Youth player with powerful credentials has just posted a League record of 160*

One of our teenage participants has just posted yet another not out 100. This one ‘en France’. “Il a frappe l’equipe francais avec des grand coupe hors du parc. Formidable n’est pas?”

One of our adult participants has been hitting his straps early with big scores resulting in important wins getting his team to the top of his County Premier League.

Finally how about a League score of 180 from the opening slot – batting right through the innings.

One popular and enjoyable Club holiday coaching week completed. The next is under way, with one to come.


More good news will undoubtedly follow. . . . . . . . . .

Well the good news is an opening bowler who has won recognition with an England age group trial. We are pretty confident in his chances as not only is he technically gifted but importantly he has bags of mental strength, resilience and especially fiery fast bowler’s character.

Bowler’s are performing well. One ‘teenage’ County age group player has been sending the senior opposition batsmen packing in his League performances for a Premier Division club. Another who spent the winter re-modelling his action has had pain free cricket, moreover with good results.

The Batters are all going well also. The weather’s been kind hasn’t it! 3 more Centurions including one at top County level and a 16yr old who emulated his Ashes winning heroes with a Century against an Aussie side.

They’ve been flying, this past week – a County century – a teenager’s Kent League hundred – a great 160 by one of our adult (20 something) participants – a match saving Premier League 114 – a match winning school 1st team performance on a rain affected wicket followed by 3 for 23 of match winning spin – and 2 consecutive half centuries by a junior league player. A real step up for this youngster’s development together with his step up to county representative levels.

We’re always delighted with the regular updates from all our current (and former also) coaching participants. Keep the performance news coming everybody.

There’s very rarely any substitute for technical excellence



The game of cricket is well suited to the technical and mental aptitudes shown by young lady cricketers and we are pleased to be working with an increasing number. One is playing at Senior County level and working hard in her ambition to move up to full England National Level

Worth a thought! Worth the Investment.
Here is a thought which we are coming across more and more often. Do you have a young cricketer who belongs to a Club Section, but does not seem to get as much opportunity as you (or he/she) would like. Important to respect the excellent work put in by all those Clubs around the South East with dozens of cricketers being coached in age groups one evening a week.

Yet with the best will in the world there is a finite amount of time which can be given to each individual within a group. In fact during a 1 to 2 hour practice session this may amount only to barely more than a few seconds of individual instruction as attention has to remain focused on the overall group.
We have calculated, for example, that in a tutoring style Willowmasters one to one batting session, the individual can easily bat for the equivalent of a 45 over innings. How much speed of development does that create.
Worth a thought! Worth the Investment.


The start included 4 hundreds + useful UCCE contributions.
The development phase has seen 3 more centuries and to date 18 half centuries, with one player already past his 1,000 for the season (that’s a 2nd).

How are you going?

In the current week of matches, can be added to the above a match winning 83 by a quality No 3 batsman. A young bowler making his way into 1st team cricket provides an influential match winning 3 – 18 spell. Finally one of our current crop of Uni players takes 4 good keeper catches.

The Autumn Glow!!
We are proud to report a wide rangeing group of keen cricketers who prepared themselves well and have played confidently during the seasons happy with the beneficial improvements to their game. Our coaching programmes have been carefully geared to suit each player level and devised alike for those ambitious for Representative County honours at both Junior and Professional level, those enjoying the game at either a League or a Leisure level, and to all colts age groups.
Give yourself the extra benefits with time available to work with our between-season programme as many are currently doing. Fine Tune for that crucial technical difference to enhance an enjoyably successful season.

Coaching Courses

Check out our Course Details page to keep yourself posted of our timetabled courses (and others which we believe relevant and compatible with our direction and your aspirations).

More and more people are booking up their coaching programmes. Get yourself a head start as well.


Our Coaching Programmes and Courses across 5 clubs have all been extremely well received with good results and feedback. We have been indebted to the top coaching work from our level III coaches and our keen young county representative players. While reading this, consider the benefits which we could bring to your club, and phone or email us.

Note to Clubs

If you are a club looking to run a coaching programme for your seniors or a holiday course for juniors, give us a call. We can plan it with you or provide coaching staff at the appropriate level.

Alternatively – Give us a call if you are seeking extra coaches or coach cover.

Season’s Achievements

The honours diary for those who have engaged in Willowmasters Cricket Coaching personal talent development:


A Season Update

We’ve now had 4 centurions and a good collection of 50+ scores. So going well there.

Mid Season Update

So July has started with a bang for the batters. A quality match winning 100 against tough opposition and a big 80. A well paced quality 68 from a cultured young batsman against the top premier league side secures a good win last week. This week with the wicket affected by rain a captain’s fighting 50 secures an important win. Worthwhile to Reflect on the cricketer who despite scores of a hundred & several over 80s has committed himself to increase shot range and improve his current technique still further.

Mid Season Update

Another 100 – this time a big one. One guy has hit four 50’s. He now wants to go on so we’re working on that. One representative player has managed over 180 in three knocks – out once. Go on have a guess. Yep – run out. And our young player with the big average now has an even bigger one – his recent best being 79 not out. Oh and how about 97 not out – just losing strike off the last ball. Happy though. Wouldn’t we all take that at the beginning of the day!

Early Season Update

Well we can now applaud two (league) century makers – always a strong ability indicator; an inaugural Half Century which was hugely pleasing to all concerned; and one young cricketer who has disciplined himself and concentrated sufficiently well as to earn and merit his batting average above 60

The Early Season

produced a big 80 and a 65 — both not outs and both match winning. We also had in reports of several not out 40’s — always a good way to begin the season. You know you can get to that point, so a touch more discipline + concentration and the milestones can begin to clock up. Keep up the good work and continue to benefit from your winter diligence.


Of those batsmen passing through the Willowmasters coaching experience last year:

  • There were 9 centuries (three being inaugural — do you also recall that great feeling of your first? — or perhaps better still was the one which gave you most pride or mattered the most — accomplished under pressure of conditions or match situation).
  • There were 45 half centuries or more, with 12 in the 80’s and 90’s and — whisper it quietly — one 98 and a 99. OK, it’s only a run or two in the averages but the ultimate of three figures is irreplaceable.


A Bowling Update

Better than a 5fer — one of our players has just completed a 6fer. Congratulations on a bowler able to move it off the pitch both ways.

Good progress is being made currently with a big left arm quick, a not quite so big but still quick left armer, and a left arm spinner. Interesting – all this Left handedness!

Mid Season Bowler Update

Not too much to report except that economy rates have mostly been decent with a consistency of wicket taking. But no “Michelle’s” or any other dishy figures! Hot Sun – Decent Pitches – Harder Work!

Bowler Update

No ’5 fers’ yet, but a number of useful ’4 fers’

Bowling Update

has produced a best of 6 for 28 which put the skids under & then bowled out the chasing side.

Last year’s bowlers enjoyed nine instances of ’5 fers’ There were three 6’s and one ’7 fer’


Of course we all know they’re the hub of the wheel with the gift of the g_b and the sharpest spanners in the bag. Yes they’re working well and we’re enjoying working with them also.

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