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We recently said goodbye to two of our very popular and longstanding Community Coaches. Andrew Skidmore and Sophie Luff who had been Community Coaches for five and a half and four and a half years respectively have taken up new challenges with Andrew now working at Selworthy School and Sophie becoming a professional cricketer with Western Storm.

In their time as Community Coaches Andrew and Sophie had a huge impact on the grassroots game in Somerset, coaching thousands of children in schools and clubs across the county. Their roles included delivering curriculum and after school clubs in primary, secondary and special schools as well as running competitions and festivals, courses for young leaders and teacher training. They also supported clubs through the Active8 and #Thisgirlcan initiatives along with many others. They ended their time with the Cricket Board by supporting many clubs over the summer, helping with junior sections where clubs were struggling due to the impact of Covid-19.

On her time with the Somerset Cricket Board (SCB) Sophie said “I’ve absolutely loved my time with the SCB. Looking back there have been some special memories and I am grateful to everyone who has supported me along my journey. Being recognised as Chance to Shine ‘School’s Coach of the Year’ last year was a real highlight and something I will look back on fondly. Hopefully it was a reflection of all the time, effort and passion I’ve put into the role”.

What was the best part of the role for Sophie? “Meeting so many amazing people, colleagues, teachers, coaches, club members and not forgetting the children themselves. Engaging children in our game is so important and seeing them with smiles of their faces and wanting to play more cricket made everything worthwhile”.

Andrew had similar recollections to Sophie. “The last five and a half years have been incredibly rewarding for me. Being able to deliver cricket to thousands of children and inspire them to love the game as much as me was a real honour. Working in a great team and getting to meet so many fantastic teachers and members of clubs who work so hard was unforgettable”.

Both Sophie and Andrew are looking forward to their new challenges. Andrew commented that “Although I have spent a lot on time in schools, working in one full time will be a new experience and one I can’t wait to get started. Working with children with special education needs is a passion of mine and one that I know will be immensely rewarding”.

Sophie cannot wait to get her professional cricket career underway. “I’m determined to give being a professional cricketer my all. It has always been a dream of mine and now it has finally come true I can wait to get started”.

Scott Chappell, Youth Development Manager for the SCB was full of praise for Andrew and Sophie. “The difference that Andrew and Sophie have made to cricket in Somerset, particularly within schools cannot be underestimated. Their hard work and passion has inspired children across Somerset to play cricket. Although a huge loss for us, they will no doubt be successful in their new roles and we wish them the best of luck”.