KEN Stapleton, head coach of Ottershaw’s juniors, is a firm believer that cricket should be enjoyable no matter what age you are. 

Stapleton, who joined the club in 2015 and skippers the Sunday second XI in The Village Cricket League, said: “I’m the lead coach for the club’s All Stars and Dynamos programme. We do that on behalf of the ECB Surrey Cricket Foundation, and over the past three years we’ve had between 70 and 100 kids coming down on a Friday night to play.

“The most satisfying aspect of that role is seeing the local community and the kids having fun. It’s also great to receive lovely feedback. That’s very rewarding too.

“We try to encourage parents to come and get involved with their kids, and that’s a wonderful thing because they’re doing something productive together. My daughters play.”

Stapleton said the Otters set up a Sunday second XI because their Sunday first team had too big a squad to keep everyone satisfied.

He said: “The Sunday second XI started three or four years ago. We had a Sunday first team but they grew too big and we had lots of players who weren’t getting games, so we thought we’d have a second XI.

“I’ve always skippered the Sunday second XI with Rob Halstead. We mix it up and it works very nicely because we’re good buddies. The whole team is made up of friends, which is really nice.

“It’s important for me that everyone gets a good game, because it’s five to seven hours on a Sunday. It’s a big investment for them and it’s very important they all feel as though they’ve participated.

“For me, the pleasure from skippering is seeing the enjoyment of others. I love a good game of cricket. I like a close game where it goes to the end. 

“But for me, it’s watching loads of guys from different backgrounds coming together and seeing they’ve all had a good time.”

Halstead, who hails from Perth in Western Australia, said of his time at the club: “My wife grew up in Woodham, and we’ve lived  in Ottershaw for almost nine years.

“I hadn’t played cricket since I was at school, and I met Ken. He’s very persuasive and now he’s got me on speed dial. 

“I started off by playing in a few Twenty20 games, and the next thing I knew I was his vice-captain and even the captain occasionally. So now I’ve got no escape.

“Here it’s a great bunch of blokes and a great club which is within walking distance for me, so I try to help out as much as I can. 

“We’ve got a good committee who are really proactive and there’s been some big improvements to the ground in the past couple of years.

“If we can win half the games we play, I’ll be happy. 

“The cricket was a lot more social last year. That’s what’s so good about Ken – he wants to give everybody a good game and a great day out.

“Then Tom Mumford, who captains the Sunday first XI, suggested the second XI should play in Division Two, and that’s how we’re here now.”