From Football Mad To Cricket Crazy

If you are a young lad from Darlington growing up in the football-mad north-east, then the chances are your first sporting dream is to score a goal at St James’ Park in front of the Toon army. Making a century at Lord’s comes way down the list, if it makes the list at all. But though this may be football country – the land of Gazza, Shearer and Waddle – Chance to Shine has helped one teenager to realise that football is not the only sport he can love.

Darren Brown, cricket development officer at Durham, first came into Jake Louth’s Darlington primary school a decade ago. At that time, Jake had never even picked up a cricket bat. Fast forward 10 years, and he is playing in the Durham Academy side. “Cricket’s helped me grow up a lot,” he says, “because when you’re younger and you get a duck you’re fuming with yourself. But then learning that you’ll have your good days and your bad days, you just take it on the chin a little bit more now.”

Watch as we visited Jake 5 years after we first met him:

Although Jake, like all aspiring pros, will have to overcome many challenges to make it to the top in the next few years, his philosophy is very much that cricket is there to be enjoyed. “I just want to keep pushing on and enjoy it, that’s all I’d say to anyone wanting to play any sport.”

Jake’s story epitomises what Chance to Shine aims to achieve. With limited work opportunities in and around Darlington, it is vital that Chance to Shine is able to work with young people in the area to introduce them to the positive aspects of cricket. There is never a guarantee that any player will be able to make it to the top of the game, but Jake Louth possesses the work ethic and the attitude to give it a seriously good shot, and without Chance to Shine he’d still be dreaming only of that black and white striped football shirt.

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