CRICKET: Special award for Smith’s services

Seal of approval: Geoff Smith (right) is honoured by England legend Sir Ian Botham. Photo supplied
Seal of approval: Geoff Smith (right) is honoured by England legend Sir Ian Botham. Photo supplied
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SPALDING coach Geoff Smith has been recognised for years of outstanding services to grassroots cricket.

He was handed a coaching certificate by by Sir Ian Botham at the second NatWest Series ODI against Sri Lanka at Headingley Carnegie earlier this month.

Smith was one of 15 coaches to be honoured by the former England all-rounder and current cricket broadcaster as part of the Sky Sports ECB Coach Education Programme.

Loyal Smith ran the junior section at Long Sutton for many years, achieving Clubmark and Focus Club status for the club.

He has coached more than 300 juniors over the years, and in addition has spent ten years as coach to Lincolnshire U/15s.

Smith also came out of retirement to coach a Lincolnshire U/16 touring side in South Africa in 2009.

He said: “I’m humbled to be here. The Sky Sports ECB Coach Education Programme has provided a wealth of support and got more coaches through the system.

“It’s really brought the local community together and helped to create whole teams of fresh young cricketers.”

The Sky Sports ECB Coach Education Programme aims to attract and train coaches at all levels of cricket in England and Wales.

Since the beginning of Sky’s sponsorship in 2007, more than 33,000 coaches have gone through the scheme, more than triple the original target.

For every professional cricketer in England and Wales, there are now more than 100 grass root coaches.