The first Masterclass under the auspices of the Andrew White Cricket Academy was held on Sunday 20th December in the Ulster University Sports Centre, Jordanstown when Surrey and Ireland wicketkeeper Gary Wilson took two sessions for local keepers and coaches.

One was with youth keepers from the Andrew White Academy, the NCU Regional Development Squads and and young club keepers who wished to attend.

In his second session Gary worked with a number of Senior Club keepers and coaches who gained a deeper insight into this very specialised aspect of the game.

Corin Goodall, keeper at Gary’s ‘home’ club CSNI said:

“I’m grateful to Gary for giving up his time along with Whitey and the other NCU coaching staff.
It was great to get time with such an experienced keeper to show us various drills.
Whilst we had probably all seen them before, Gary's insight showed different aspects for focus and challenged previous understanding.
Also the coach to keeper ratio was great meaning it was virtually one-to-one training (ensuring maximum benefit from the time).
I came away with a greater understanding of why things are done in a certain manner which will equip me to better coach the young keepers at my club.”

Bruce Topping, Keeper and Coach at Donaghacloney added his thoughts:

“Gary's session was excellent as he managed to cover a lot of ground in a short space of time.
I was interested to hear his thoughts on standing up, the posture/ready position and the importance of hip mobility to increase a keepers chance of holding on to edges while in that position.
I hope the NCU intend to run more of these expert masterclasses across all aspects.”

It was always the intention that the Academy would use Irish International players and Coaches to enhance the programme for the participants and Andrew has indicated that when further masterclasses are scheduled as part of the Academy programme every opportunity will be taken to allow access to the wider NCU community.

Alan Waite, NCU vice-chairman and coordinator of the Youth Development Programme summed things up saying:
"We were delighted that Gary was able to give us a couple of hours on Sunday before he heads away with Irish Team to the Intercontinental Cup and World T20.

Wicket keeping is an area which does not receive the correct level of attention at both club and regional level and it was a great opportunity for us to draw on Gary's knowledge and experience.

The two sessions were well attended by both players and coaches, and when his schedule allows Gary is more than happy to come back and run further group sessions or one to ones.”

Some photographs from Gary’s session can be found at: