Josh’s Story

Cricket is having a major impact on the life of Josh Hughes, an 11-year-old pupil at Gwersyltt Community Primary School in Wales.

“Josh came to us in Year 4 and it was difficult for him as all the lads had been together for a few years and already made friends,” explained Greg McAteer, Josh’s teacher. “He found it difficult to integrate and make bonds.”

Mr McAteer soon saw how the power of cricket can help students. “Year 5 had a Kwik Cricket tournament coming up which was organised by Chance to Shine,” said Mr McAteer. “We’d seen that Josh was an athletic lad, he could throw and catch. He’d never thought of playing cricket before but he had a storming game!”

Soon the whole school was talking about him. “He ran 20 yards and caught the ball inches from the ground; he became a school celebrity overnight. These acrobatic catches are now known as ‘doing a Josh’,” laughs Mr Mcateer. “He’s changed his own opinion of himself; he walks around school with his head up, and the children think the world of him.”

A dramatic change in his behaviour followed. “Josh’s way of trying to fit in was to make people laugh but since he’s become the cricket star of the school he doesn’t need to do that. He’s got some great friends and his confidence has gone through roof.”

WATCH Josh’s story:

Another breakthrough came when Josh decided to go to the local cricket club. “When Josh first came to us he was very quiet,” said Dale Jones, who coaches at Gwersyllt CC.

“He looked keen but didn’t have the confidence to get involved. But he’s since come to training every week.”

The team has benefited too, thanks to their new player. “From the first session he was hitting the ball into the trees,” said Dale. “He’s much more confident and outgoing since he started playing cricket – he’s now the kid everyone loves and he talks to everyone.”

Josh’s teachers and his new club are hoping he will continue to develop and that the Chance to Shine schools programme can continue operating in his school and unearth more young people like Josh.

“He’s a completely different boy,” adds Josh’s foster mum, Sonia. “His mood swings have died down. He used to kick off, but now he doesn’t! He’s made lots of friends, he’s more outgoing, more confident in every way. He just loves cricket. It’s his life.”

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