Club Cricket Conference

Wednesday, 22nd May 2024

Versatile Hughes honoured as ECB young coach of 2014

By Charles Randall

5 February 2015

James Hughes has chosen 'fixations & eye tracking within elite level slip catching' as his research project at Southampton Solent University, but it has been his coaching skills and energy that earned him the ECB's Young Coach of the Year award for 2014.

Hughes, 22, a Locks Heath CC batsman in the Hampshire County League Division One, was presented with his award by Ashley Giles in the presentation ceremony at Warwick University this week.

Though his sports coaching degree course helped him into employment at the Hampshire county club as a performance analyst – with slip catching no doubt a speciality - Hughes continued as an influential coach at grassroots level with seemingly limitless enthusiasm. By the end of 2014 he could claim to have coached eight different teams ranging from primary schools to the Hampshire emerging players programme.

Naturally Hughes coached at Locks Heath, but he seemed to be earmarked for higher status when appointed South East Hampshire Cricket Association head coach. His efforts coaching at schools and in county age groups, including the Isle of Wight, enhanced his reputation, as in the build-up to the national awards he won the Hampshire Cricket Board young coach award and went on to become an ECB regional winner in the South England area.

Among the young coach runners-up was Dan Helesfay, Loughborough University sports science student heavily involved at Teddington CC and Barn Elms CC in London. Listed with him were Charlotte and Kathryn Whyle, twins who graduated with first class honours in youth sports coaching at Staffordshire University.

The main award of ECB Coach of the Year went to Karl Krikken, the Derbyshire stalwart, with Matt Wood, of Somerset, the runner-up. The ECB 'outstanding contribution' prize went to Martyn Cross, of Minster Lovell CC in Oxfordshire, ahead of runners-up David Collins and Gary Adey (Durham).