Cheltenham College Preparatory School at Desert Springs


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News Items

Dateline: 7th June 2014
Source: The Almanzora Group Ltd
Subject: Cheltenham College Cricket
Title: Cheltenham College Prep School Cricketers pre-season training


Cheltenham College Prep School cricketer’s are now back in England having completed a successful 5 days of warm weather cricket and sports training between 12th – 16th April at Desert Springs Resort, Europe’s only international award-winning luxury family resort and championship desert golf course with its very own dedicated Cricket Academy, in the Almanzora region of Almeria, Andalucía in south-east Spain.

Kim Parsley, Tour Manager and his team of seven staff accompanied thirty-two players, ten girls and twenty-two boys for what has now become their 9th Annual Pre-Season Cricket Training Camp.

Kim Parsley remarked:

“The boys enjoyed their usual diet of cricket, followed by cricket and more cricket. The girls, however, experienced a veritable smorgasbord of sporting options, including tennis, track and field, rounder’s, gym, a 'trim trail, swimming as well as cricket.

Coaching from 09:00 hrs. until 17:00 hrs. was the routine for the day, with so many coaching opportunities at differentiated levels possible.”

Kim continued:

“The small amount of 'downtime' was utilised in having a golf lesson, or horizontal absorption of UV rays, some chose to do some CE revision, or read quietly. All visited the local Moorish town of Mojacar Pueblo, where sombrero folding became an art for the staff!

The accommodation was first class - luxury 4-berth apartments, superb meals both in quality and quantity - and all so adjacent to the sporting facilities.

The icing on the cake, literally, was an unforgettable birthday for one member of the party with candles, a sing-song and excellent chocolate cake for all - and to be presented with a signed memento by England's greatest cricketing all-rounder, who happened to be holidaying on the resort at the same time! All 32 boys and girls enjoyed themselves and made excellent sporting progress - Desert Springs really is a beautiful place!”


For further information contact: The Almanzora Group Ltd
Telephone: +44 (0) 1242 680 299


Cheltenham College Prep School during their 9th Annual return to the Desert Springs Resort for their Pre-Season Cricket and Summer Sports Training Camp




Kim Parsley (Second Left) with support staff








‘Net Practice Session’ at the Desert Springs Cricket Academy


Dateline: 2nd April 2014
Source: The Almanzora Group Ltd
Subject: Cheltenham College
Title: Cheltenham College Prep School due to return to Desert Springs for Pre Season Cricket Camp


With the domestic cricket season drawing ever closer, thirty-two students accompanied by eight teachers from the Cheltenham College Prep School will be returning to the Desert Springs Resort between 12th – 16th April for the ninth consecutive year to complete their annual 4-day pre-season cricket training camp.

The squad will be following in the footsteps of Sussex County Cricket Club and the Tom Maynard Trust who have already completed their training camps at the new grass wicket training facilities at the Desert Springs Cricket Academy.

The players will be completing two training sessions a day, lasting 3 ½ hrs. and 1 ½ hrs. respectively, which will include agility, fielding and batting practice.

Kim Parsley, the school’s assistant head and master in charge of cricket, says the aim will be to enhance batting, bowling, catching and throwing skills.

“We want to improve teamwork fielding as well as details like eye co-ordination, movement, agility, thinking and communication skills on the field,” he said.

With the new 6 bay grass wickets at the Cricket Academy, the bowlers will be able to start to run through on grass and the batsman play from realistic conditions from the wicket.

As in previous years, the programme will include time away from the cricket field and for the first time students will be receiving tennis and track coaching to widen the offering to the School.


For further information contact: The Almanzora Group Ltd
Telephone: +44 (0) 1242 680 299




From: Jose Ignacio Olea, Golf Operations Manager at Desert Springs Resort & Golf Club
Date: Thursday, 12th April, 2012
Subject: Cheltenham School Pre-season cricket training in Spain, Saturday 7th - Wednesday 11th April, 2012



A cricket squad of 27 players aged between 10 – 13 years, accompanied by seven officials from Cheltenham College Junior School – enjoyed their seventh cricket pre-season training camp at the facilities of the Cricket Academy established at the Desert Springs Resort between Saturday 7th – Wednesday 11th April.

During their four-night stay, the Cheltenham School players and officials were accommodated in some of the privately-owned apartments normally reserved for holidays and short breaks at Desert Springs and the resort’s executive chef was on hand to cater for the special dietary requirements of individual players dining in the resort’s award-winning El Torrente restaurant.

I met with Kim Parsley, Director of the Cheltenham College Cricket Team, and one of the attending students Will Hardie, for an informal interview to receive their feed-back on the whole experience at Desert Springs Resort.

Interview with Kim Parsley:

(Jose) This is now your seventh cricket pre-season training camp held at Desert Springs, how would you rate this years visit?

(Kim) Being back at Desert Springs is always a pleasure. I can rest assured that the facilities and service are always great. Because we schedule various training sessions each day, we get a lot done and the work becomes very effective.

(Jose) In previous years the Team was accommodated in a Hotel, how would you compare that with the apartments that the team now stay in on the Desert Springs Resort?

(Kim) Accommodation has never been an issue on our trips. I must say that staying at Desert Springs has been far better than any other choice; I have realised that the time saved in commuting in and out of the Resort every day can be used to program our training more effectively.

(Jose) At Desert Springs we aim to provide schools and clubs with “value for money” packages, coupled with the highest standards of quality for both service and facilities. I´m aware that your son has attended the Pre-Season Training Camp before; as a father, how would you rate the cost of the trip for your son?

(Kim) On a value for money ranking, it´s definitely a 10/10. The service is great, facilities are awesome and the cricket pitch together with mild temperatures are all we can ask for. The quality of the food was brilliant and always on time.

Interview with Will Hardie:

(Jose) It must be lovely to train in short sleeves whilst it´s raining at home in the UK, and I´m aware that some of you have used the swimming pools located in Las Sierras.

(Will) That's correct. The weather has been fantastic throughout the camp and we have also enjoyed the swimming pool in the evenings. Water was a bit cold, but still great compared to the UK!

(Jose) As other activities on top of cricket, you have had an “Introduction to Golf” session at the Golf Academy and also a night out at the nearby village Garrucha.

(Will) I´m happy that we did those. Golf was loads of fun and all the boys loved it; actually next year there could be more golf sessions added to the Camp or an optional golf round. Also, I liked the visit to the spanish village whilst we were here in Spain.

(Jose) Talking about cricket, this is your second year attending the Cheltenham College Training Camp at Desert Springs. Why do you think that it´s so important to attend in order to improve your cricket skills?

(Will) In the UK we only get about 2 hours of proper cricket training per week and sometimes we have to do indoor training due to the weather. However, here we have 2 full sessions per day and the intensive training scheduled in 4 days equals the training of months at home!

Cheltenham School Cricket Squad pictured during pre-season training at Desert Springs in south - east Spain








Cheltenham School Training at Desert Springs





From: Kim Parsley, Cheltenham College Junior School
Date: Thursday, 12th April, 2012
Subject: Re: Trip to Desert Springs


Jo we are leaving today after a really fantastic 5 days. We have all had a fabulous time and all has gone very, very well.

We had a couple who could not make the trip for personal reasons which was a shame but did not dampen our spirits to much…

We are leaving early this morning and I have not yet had the chance to thank some people before we go, but all the Spring’s personnel have tolerated us with a smile!

Everyone with no exception really has been top notch and helped to make this a great holiday.  I must say though apart from your help organising the whole thing, Bronwen and Jodie really have been fantastic.  Bronwen has looked after us mainly in the evenings but has even popped up to assist during the day and Jodie was fantastic round the pool at the Croc Club every day.

I will be in touch soon Jo but this is a just an early note of
appreciation and thank you to you all.

Thank you

Kim Parsley


News Item

Dateline:  11th February 2009
Source:   The Almanzora Group
Subject: Cricket at Desert Springs
Title: The value of pre-season cricket training in the Spanish sunshine pays off for winning players at Cheltenham College Junior School


Cricketers from Cheltenham College Junior School will return to the Almeria region of south-east Spain in April for pre-season cricket training in the warmth of Europe’s only desert resort for the fourth year running.

The decision follows the success of the last season in which the school’s four top teams – which included 23 players who had trained in Spain – won or drew all but 14 of the 60 games they played against other schools.

This year a squad of 28 selected pupils aged between 11 and 13, as well as eight staff – including three who will be there to hone their own cricket coaching skills – will spend five days at Desert Springs, Europe’s only international award-winning luxury family resort and championship desert golf course.

Kim Parsley, the school’s assistant head and master in charge of cricket, says the aim will be to enhance batting, bowling, catching and throwing skills.

“We want to improve teamwork fielding as well as details like eye co-ordination, movement, agility, thinking and communication skills on the field,” he said. “Much of that is much easier to achieve in the warm Spanish sunshine than the cold spring weather which is normal in the UK.”

As in previous years, the programme will include time away from the cricket field for games on the nearby Garrucha beach and some local sightseeing in what many regard as “the real Spain.”

Accommodation will be in the nearby Marina Playa Hotel and meals will be taken at Desert Springs in both the resort’s award-winning El Torrente Restaurant and its Croc Restaurant, part of the family-friendly Crocodile Club geared up for a wide variety of leisure activities.

Pupils also will be able to play golf on the 18-hole Indiana golf course designed by former Great Britain and Ireland Golf Captain Peter McEvoy.

Kim Parsley believes his school is the only one in Britain arranging pre-season cricket training in this way.

He says: “Unlike schools which take their teams overseas to compete with other schools, our players are all winners because they return from Spain with improved skills and the benefits of one-to-one coaching in a warm and relaxed environment.”

Players who benefited last season included Ben Ringrose, a 13-year-old pupil who was captain of the Gloucestershire Under-13 team and trained at Desert Springs in 2007. As the school’s 1st XI captain during two seasons – and for a tour to Barbados – he scored a total of 1,280 runs, including a record 875 during the summer season of 2008.

“That is a very unusual achievement in the field of prep school cricket,” says Kim.

Already well-known as a resort specialising in family holidays, Desert Springs is gaining popularity as a centre for warm-weather training for golfers and footballers, as well as cricketers. For details call the Cheltenham-based Almanzora Group +44 (0) 1242 680116


For further information contact: The Almanzora Group


Cheltenham College Junior School cricketers pictured during pre-season training at Desert Springs in south-east Spain




From: Kim Parsley, Cheltenham College Junior School
Date: Wednesday, 12th April, 2006
Subject: Pre-season cricket training in Spain 17th-22nd April 2006


The pre-season cricket training squad of 22 boys made a prompt departure on Monday 17th April arriving at Almeria slightly ahead of schedule.  The 60 km drive saw us arrive at the Marina Playa Hotel at about 2330, with the paired check-in process slick, and the boys were able to explore their 4* rooms and test the sleeping facilities provided, which they did to the full!

Waking up to views of the beach and the mountains was one of the many highlights to follow in the next four days, and after an ‘all-you-can-eat’ breakfast buffet (11 pancakes was the record for the week, we think) that fully catered for any European taste, we were all eager for a 0900 departure for the 30 minute drive north to the Desert Springs complex.

The practice facilities were fantastic.  Arranged on a soccer pitch were two artificial nets, a bowling machine, a strip and a playing surface of the flattest manicured ‘English’ grass, which would not have looked out of place at a Premiership football ground.  Indeed, this is to host an Irish Republic training camp at the end of May.  The presence of an iced water station and changing rooms, meant that we were a fully self-contained oasis in the middle of the desert!

The daily cricket practice took the form of a warm up. ‘baseball-style’, followed by two sessions of two-and-a half hours with lunch sandwiched in between.  Each day finished with ‘bun and drink’ at the Crocodile Club, before some ‘local colour’ and a return to base for a dinner as impressive and substantial as the breakfast.

There was huge scope for cricket practice. The 6 staff were able to spread themselves about the small groups of 7/8, or among the whole group depending on the exercise.  Concentrated time on all aspects of the game - batting. bowling, throwing. catching, support, teamwork fielding - was spent, with an constant emphasis placed on the individual’s ‘intensity’ to the task. The boys were encouraged to assess themselves after each session in terms of their own performance and attitude, with constant reminders to be honest and to make the most of the wonderful opportunities presented to them. Constant ‘nagging’ about sun cream application, water intake and head cover was a major feature, but appreciated –

Lunch - taken in the salubrious surroundings of the golf clubhouse - was always tasty and substantial. The staff at Desert Springs catered for our every request, and even provided two sumptuous cakes to celebrate birthdays during the week. The facilities provided at the Crocodile Club were fantastic. The Resort Trainer took the boys through fitness sessions, and the other facilities made use of included table tennis, pool, fitness equipment as well as the popular soccer court and swimming pool.  We ended the ‘days at work’, with short excursions to the local hilltop moorish town of Mojacar. a trip out to a sleepy Spanish village called Gafarillos in the foothills of the Sierra Cabrera (‘Goat Mountain’), with a truly fantastic ride back ‘over the top’, and then an experience of local beach football in Garrucha.

The whole experience was absolutely fantastic. The opportunities afforded to the boys in terms of the quality of facility and coaching is unlikely to have been matched anywhere, and it really does set these boys up for the season, whatever XI they find themselves selected for.  It has given them all a real insight into the value of working in small groups and as an individual, and most importantly taking the opportunity on offer which should extend beyond cricket into all aspects of sport and life in general.

It was a pleasure to take the group. To receive compliments from other guests staying in the hotel and at the Desert Springs Resort made us all proud. Four full days of intense practice was just right. One of the few improvements to make would be to arrange for a more convenient time to return! Let’s hope now for some good weather to allow us to progress
 as the season gets underway this week. Many thanks to Desert Springs for their support for the whole venture.

K. A. Parsley