Lisa Keightley, (far left) MCC Team Manager, Jonathan Finch, Head Performance Coach (2nd Left) and Christian Vassallo, Strength and Conditioning Coach (far right), with MCC Women’s Young Cricketers players: Sophie Luff, Alex MacDonald, Hollie Armitage, Jessica Watson, Georgina Holmes, Georgina Hennssy, Stephanie Butler and Carla Rudd.
Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) Young Women’s Cricketers’ players are now back in England having completed a successful 5 days of warm weather fitness and cricket training between 8th – 12th 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.
Lisa Keightley, MCC Women’s Young Cricketers Team Manager and her team of three staff accompanied eight players who completed bowling, batting and fielding practice as well as strength and conditioning training sessions as they stepped up their physical preparations for the upcoming 2014 season.
Lisa Keightley, MCC Team Manager said:
“We have experienced and benefitted from great hospitality, first class quality food and excellent cricket practice facilities here at Desert Springs Resort. The weather in the UK has not been conducive to allowing our players to work on fielding exercises and practice, and that is one area that we have been specifically able to concentrate on here in Spain. We certainly believe that we shall reap the benefits of all that hard work in the coming weeks in our matches to be played! In my opinion the Desert Springs Cricket Academy has the potential to become an extremely sought after world class location for elite cricket training camps.”
‘Close Fielding Practice Session’ at the Desert Springs Cricket Academy
The famous MCC Young Cricketers programme demonstrates the Club's determination to foster new talent and maintain its reputation as the world's most active cricket-playing club.
After benefiting from expert coaching, intensive playing programmes and world-class facilities, many MCC Young Cricketers – both men and women – proceed to enjoy successful careers in county or international cricket.
Notable 'graduates' of the MCC Young Cricketers programme include England's Sir Ian Botham, who notably is a property owner and frequent visitor at Desert Springs Resort, Phil Tufnell, and Australia's Mark Waugh. One in three MCC Young Cricketers go on to sign professional terms with a first-class county.
MCC player, 18 year-old Jessica Watson remarked of the Cricket Academy:
“Desert Springs Resort is excellent for a pre-season training camp. The food and attention to detail from the resort staff was excellent, and the Gym had everything we needed for concentrating on our strength and conditioning programme; the wickets played very well and most importantly the additional training facilities at the academy gave us a chance to undertake extensive training sessions on fielding work ahead of the season.”
The training camp worked on a specific and carefully planned programme covering technical skills, strength and conditioning, fielding skills and both individual and group activity.
MCC player, 18 year-old Stephanie Butler remarked of her experience:
Desert Springs provided a great opportunity for our squad to work on specific areas of our game that we could not do back in the UK. We have certainly been put through our paces during this training camp and we are all looking forward to returning soon!”
Our resort accommodation based on 4 sharing two bedroom / two bathroom apartments was by far much better than staying in a conventional hotel with just a bedroom and shower! When not training, the apartments provided us with a haven to return to giving us girls the opportunity to spend some time relaxing together in the apartment lounge, which only strengthens players bonds.”
Keep your eye on the ball!
Jonathan Finch, MCC Head Performance Coach said: –
“This was the inaugural visit to Desert Springs of the MCC. We had received extremely positive feedback from the players of Lancashire CCC, Sussex CCC and Matt Maynard, all of whom had visited Desert Springs for training camps recently and recommended we do the same. We certainly have not been disappointed in what we have found and experienced here at Desert Springs. The location, training facilities, quality of accommodation and food, attention of the staff and attention to detail to ensure that we benefit from our time here as much as possible has been excellent. The girls have most definitely benefitted from their training camp and we have already requested a quote to return again later this year for numerous training camps with various of our girls’ squads!”
Accommodation for the MCC Young Crickets players and coaches was provided in the Apartments available at Desert Springs.
- For details of Cricket, Golf & Sports Training Camps, Corporate Golf Events and Meetings at Desert Springs call 01242 680 116 or visit the website, www.almanzora.com
- To find out more about MCC Young Cricketers visit the website http://www.lords.org/mcc/youth-cricket/mcc-young-cricketers/
- To find out more about the Desert Springs Cricket Academy visit the website:
Additional background Information
Warm weather winter training camps at Desert Springs
Desert Springs, Europe’s only international award-winning luxury family resort and championship desert golf course, is already known as a resort specialising in family holidays, however it has rapidly gained popularity as a centre for warm-weather training for cricketers, athletes, and footballers, as well as golfers and is proving to be one of the most popular destinations for sports warm weather winter training camps.
All sports camps to Desert Springs are bespoke. If desired, the programme can include time away from the resort for some local sightseeing in what many regard as ‘the real Spain.’
During their stay attendees have opportunities to swim, play tennis and use the gymnasium, trim trail, jogging tracks, paddle tennis and beach volley ball courts.
Desert Springs is easy to reach from the UK, thanks to three international airports. They are: Almeria Airport, around 40 minutes away by road; Murcia Airport, 80 minutes by car, and Alicante Airport which is a drive of less than two hours. Airlines currently flying to the region from the UK include easyJet, Monarch, Ryanair, Jet2, Jetair Fly and Thomas Cook.
Accommodation is provided in the apartments and villas available for holidays and short breaks at Desert Springs. Meals are served in the resort’s Croc Restaurant, part of the family-friendly Crocodile Club that is geared up for a wide variety of leisure activities and the award winning El Torrente Restaurant at the Club House.
A spokesman for Desert Springs said that, depending on the size of the group and its requirements, the total cost of a four-day trip for warm weather training, including flights, would work out at between £350 and £400 per person.
The Desert Springs Resort & Golf Club
Facilities already completed and in use at Desert Springs include:
- a par 72 -18-hole USGA Indiana golf course designed by former Great Britain and Ireland Golf Team Captain Peter McEvoy who was inspired by the desert courses of Arizona and California;
- a golf academy whose PGA qualified teaching professionals cater for several international teams, for the women’s elite squads of the Golf Union of Wales and for many of the English County Union’s elite squads; PGA European Tour and LET players.
- two hard tennis courts, two paddle courts, beach volley ball and two football pitches – one is a full-size grass pitch; the other is designed for five-a-side games;
- Cricket Academy training facilities comprise; a six bay grass wicket and run up with nets, a two bay artificial wicket with nets, a full length artificial grass wicket, a Professional Bola Bowling Machine with 28 ball feeder, a slip catch cradle and a specific hard standing area, which provides outside space for facilities such as a free weights gym, stretching mats and a medical area.
- a Spanish colonial style Golf Club House with a lounge, bar, restaurant, locker rooms, TV and reading rooms, and a Ralph Lauren Golf Boutique;
- The Crocodile Club which provides family fun at the heart of the resort with pools, equipped sand play areas, a kid’s battery powered John Deere Gator circuit and a games room as well as a jacuzzi, sun lawns and a pool bar;
- a health and fitness club and spa.
In 2005 Desert Springs won the Daily Mail Best Almeria Award and the Bentley International Property Awards for the Best Spain Development and Best Architecture. In 2006, it was awarded the Spanish National Madera Verde Prize for Environmentally Sensitive Development. In 2007, the El Torrente Restaurant received the New Millennium International Gastronomy Award for the Tourist, Hotel and Catering Industry. This award was created by the Trade Leaders Club with the aim of distinguishing companies from all countries, for the outstanding quality of their products or services.
The climate of the Almanzora coastal region
Desert Springs takes it name from the region’s desert microclimate, which is unique in Europe. It has the warmest winter weather on the continent with an annual average of more than nine hours of daily sunshine and maximum daily temperatures of between 16°C (60°F) and 30°C (86°F) throughout the year. Annual rainfall is less than 200 mm. The Almanzora’s coastal waters are among the cleanest and warmest in Europe, attracting both fish and diving enthusiasts.
NOTE: High Resolution Images available upon request
The Almanzora Group Ltd
The Manor, Boddington, Cheltenham,
Gloucestershire GL51 0TJ
Tel: +44 (0) 1242 680116