Seaford College breaks into The Cricketer's top 100 schools

Seaford College, near Petworth, has been named in The Cricketer magazine’s prestigious top 100 senior schools guide for the first time ever.

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 12:30 pm
One of the Seaford College cricket teams / Picture supplied by Seaford College

Former England player Chris Adams, who was appointed Head of Cricket at Seaford College five years ago, said it was a huge honour for the school and a reflection of how far cricket at Seaford had progressed in recent years.

“We were delighted with the announcement. One of the big goals when I first came to Seaford was The Cricketer Top 100, and we set about the task of achieving it.”

Seaford’s Director of Sport, Liam Doubler, said the school had invested a lot in cricket infrastructure over the past few years, such as the new covered nets.

“Last summer, despite Covid, we had every Prep School student playing cricket, and the senior boys and girls competing against other schools at the weekend.”

Seaford will put out about 38 teams across the school next summer, an increase from 14 teams five years ago.

Last summer also saw the roll-out of the girls’ cricket programme at Seaford, with former Sussex Pathway Cricketer Natalie Miller appointed to lead the initiative as Head of Girls’ Cricket, in addition to her roles as Assistant Director of Sport and Head of Netball.

She said there had been as many girls as boys playing cricket last summer.

“Girls cricket at Seaford is thriving,” said Natalie. “We have six girls in the county structure at the moment and that encourages their whole year group. Some of the senior girls are also playing club cricket and they bring that experience back to Seaford.”

She said Seaford also introduced hard ball cricket for all students this year and that the response had been very positive. The school had even been able to arrange some hard ball fixtures for Years 6 to 9.

In the past two years, Seaford has developed a Performance Cricket Programme for 16+ cricket scholarship students that includes a winter schedule and one-to-one and small group coaching. “I’ve been passionate about this programme for a long time and it’s now beginning to kick in,” said Chris.

Two of Seaford’s current first XI cricketers who have benefitted from the programme said that the inclusion of the College in The Cricketer magazine’s Schools Guide shows what a great place it is for the sport.

Leg-spinner Luc Benkenstein, who has been awarded a rookie contract with Essex, said: “All the boys in the team are quite proud, and going into this next season it gives us a boost and a lot of confidence.”

Wicketkeeper batsman Charlie Tear is due to play for Scotland in the U-19s T20 World Cup in the West Indies this winter and has even reached the Sussex first team squad.

He said the Seaford facilities had massively improved and to have former England player Adams as the Head of Cricket was key.

“It makes me really proud to see we’ve burst into the Top 100 schools. We deserve to be there,” said Charlie.

First team cricketers at Seaford also benefit from playing in some high-profile fixtures such as those against the famous Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the Lords’ Taverners.

Adams said Seaford would continue to develop its cricket programmes for boys and girls across all age groups, both for A teams and first XIs, and at participation level. “We want cricket to be available for everyone,” he said.