Test Match Sofa
Spain link to aid Essex fielding camp plan
By Paul Hiscock
Essex have identified fielding as a key area of their game that needs improving if they are to become a competitive unit in all forms of cricket. Traditionally, they have been regarded as one of the finest fielding units in the country but Essex head coach Paul Grayson admits that his side came up short in fielding disciplines last year.
"Last season, our fielding was not up to the standard it had been in the past," he said. "We practised hard but one or two were not as good as they have been and that disappointed the coaching staff. We missed out on a few run out opportunities, our ground fielding and our catching werent as good as we would have liked."
Now he is hoping to address the weakness with a new initiative by taking his squad to La Manga in March for a designated fielding training camp. "We've never done this before, so it will be just be something a little bit different," Grayson added.
The squad will continue their pre-season batting and bowling preparations back at Chelmsford in the indoor nets and outside under the protection of an innovative giant marquee that was successfully tried last year.
The county were first introduced to the facilities at La Manga after a recent agreement with Cricket Espana that both would work together on a series of projects in the future to their mutual benefit.
Nick Pink of ICC Europe had approached Cricket Espana with a view to forging links with an English county side and, as a result, Dan Feist, the head of community and cricket operations at Essex, met with CE in Alicante to form the collaboration between the two parties.
In the first year, Essex will assist in grass roots cricket throughout Spain and become involved in a number of current Cricket Espana projects including cricket education within schools, and street and beach cricket events in the major cities and on the coast.
This liaison project began in November when a delegation from Essex, including academy director and performance manager John Childs, visited the Woodbridge Oval in Alfas to watch a development match between a Northern Regions XI and a Southern XI Under 21 side.
During that trip, a representative from CE delegation showed his Essex counterparts around the facilities of La Manga as both parties took the opportunity to share ideas on how to develop the association in 2013.
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