Northern Souls

Inspiration can strike from anywhere. For two teenagers from Sedgefield, County Durham, their thunderbolt moment came from meeting some of their heroes through a Chance to Shine coaching session. Now Eddie Hurst and Connor Whitelock are taking the first step towards their goals of becoming first-class cricketers.

Both boys were already playing cricket before they got involved with Chance to Shine. Yet only when Eddie, a wicketkeeper, met Durham ‘keeper Phil Mustard during a Chance to Shine event at his school, that he began to take his cricket seriously. “It was an inspiration watching and actually meeting Phil Mustard – someone who I had looked up to for a while,” he says.

For Connor, he found his inspiration through coaching. Having never previously thought about it, Connor got into coaching as he wanted to help out his local club, Sedgefield CC. “I just thought Sedgefield had done quite a lot for me and I wanted to give the club something back so I started doing some coaching.”

Connor has progressed so well with his coaching that he is now leading his own group of cricketers in the Durham development squad. However, despite his coaching talent, Connor has not given up his dream of being a profesional cricketer in June 2016 he made his Durham second XI debut against Lancashire.

 

 

 

Watch Connor and Eddie’s story:

Eddie is not far behind his friend. He has been in the Durham Academy side for three years and is showing promise in the North-East Premier League. “The highlight of my cricket career was when I got that phone call off John Windows [Durham Academy coach] to say that I was playing for Durham Academy. It was the turning point with my cricket, it’s given me the motivation to say that I could become a professional cricketer.”

Connor’s career highlight to date came in 2013 when he won the Young Leader of the Year Award. “I got a letter through the door saying that I had been nominated for a national award with Chance to Shine. My club put me forward for it but no one told me about it so just picking that letter up and opening it, that feeling inside was unbelievable.”

The boys are enormously grateful for where they find themselves now. Eddie has paid tribute to the work Chance to Shine does. “I think it’s really good that they are coming into schools that rarely see cricket. It’s a really amazing charity and it’s done a lot of things, especially for north-east cricket.”

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