The recently announced Luton Steelbacks Cricket Academy celebrated a major milestone this week, opening its doors to the first cohort of potential future stars.

This ground-breaking collaboration between Northamptonshire County Cricket Club and The Shared Learning Trust will deliver 460 hours of first-class cricket training – overseen by former Northamptonshire Head Coach David Ripley – across the next two years. Crucially, this training will coincide with students completing their A-levels/BTECs to ensure that they can fulfil their academic aspirations, as well as their cricketing dream.

The launch of this revolutionary sixth form programme was attended by several notable VIPs, who witnessed the first training session run by Northamptonshire Academy Director Kevin Innes.

Among those in attendance were Northamptonshire County Cricket Club Chief Executive Ray Payne, Cllr Mahmood Hussain – Mayor & Councillor of Farley Hill Ward, Cllr Aslam Khan – Deputy Leader Luton Borough Council & Portfolio Holder for Education, ECB Executive Martin Darlow and former Northamptonshire and England spinner Monty Panesar. The event was also attended by a number of Chairmen and club representatives from several local cricket clubs.

To gather so many significant figures locally and across the wider game at the launch event, emphasises how much excitement there is from all parties to begin a programme that will help to grow and develop young, local cricketers and forge strong ties between Northamptonshire and our neighbouring areas.

The first taste of what the sixth form programme will offer is available in the form of a pair of masterclass sessions on the 18th and 25th of January. These free cricket sessions, delivered by Kevin Innes, is for year 10 and 11 students to get a feel for the elite level training provided throughout the two-year programme.

For more information on the masterclass, or to register interest, please email or register online now.