Birmingham Unicorns 2024

Really looking forward to not only continuing our partnership with the Birmingham Unicorns (@bhamunicorns) in 2024, but also to expanding it as they continue to grow both on and off the cricket pitch.

As the Unicorns evolve from being a Team to a Club introducing a number of teams to suit all skill levels and playing preferences Chris will continue to Lead the Coaching Team (which will be expanded), will be available for selection for their First Team, and as required (ie will make up the numbers if required) for their Development, and T20 Teams.

Coaching

The coaching this year will include the winter nets which start in January and run through until the beginning of April. These nets have been structured to mirror the new club structure and will rotate weekly: First Team, Development Team, Social Team and a Club Net.

These nets have been clearly defined, and are open to all players, but players have been made aware of the focus of each net session so know what to expect each week.

First Team Nets: the focus will be on game specific skills and scenarios. As a rule players will be expected to be working on their own skills at other net or coaching sessions. Example scenarios – building an innings, maintaining run rate, power hitting, defensive bowling, aggressive bowling, death bowling, rotating strike. Basically, improving game awareness and specific skills of players.

Development Net: the focus will be on developing specific skills eg spin bowling/batting against spin bowling, batting and bowling drills. Players will have their own development plans based on ability/experience/aspiration and these nets will enable players to work on their plans. Basically, developing players skill sets.

Social Net: probably less net and more a game of indoor cricket. This will be a non pressurised way of developing general skills, mobility and awareness, and having fun playing cricket.

Club Net: the focus here will be to allow new coaches/mentors/senior players to work with the club as a whole, build unity, share thoughts, ask questions, work in small groups. These sessions will very much be driven by the new coaches and the players themselves.

Each net session will start with a warm up based around specific fielding drills, which will give new coaches and the senior players the opportunity to develop their skills and roles (especially important for those that will be taking the pre game warm up sessions).

The first indoor net will be a Club Net on the 13th January where the plans for the year will be discussed, and it will be interesting to see how close a match there is between the squads players have identified for themselves, and the squads Chris produced for his own planning based on last year.

Two themes which will run throughout these (and the outdoor nets) will be fielding as a team and maintaining the run rate as a batting unit.

The Outdoor Monday club nets will be structured along similar lines, and open to all players: lots of small groups of activity, based around the squad structure. Teamo will be checked on a Monday morning and a net plan published based on those players and coaches attending for that evening.

Net sessions will also be held before home games at Lapworth CC for all club members wanting to attend, as well as pre game drills and warm ups (home and away, First Team and Development Team).

New for this year, for those that want it One2One or Small Group coaching will be available, although the players will have to pay for this.

Playing

This season Chris will be available for selection for all the First Team games if required, and will play a full role with bat and bowl as needed. Unlike last year when he combined playing with some on field mentoring and coaching, he will only contribute as a player: match day leadership will be totally in the hands of the Captain, Vice Captain and Senior Players.

Chris will attend the Development Team games as the Coach to oversee the warm up sessions and drills, and discuss development and skills with players, but again game strategy and decision making will be left to the Captain, Vice Captain and Senior Players. He will play ‘to make up the numbers’ if the quota of First Team players aren’t available.

Where a T20 game is designated as Competitive rather than Social Chris will be available for selection.

Girls and Women’s Team

A new addition to the partnership and one we are delighted with is that we will be helping the Unicorns develop a Girls and Women’s Team.

Sue Strachan, our Head of Girls and Women’s Cricket, will be heavily involved in this and the initial plan is based around the following:

  • The Unicorns logo will be added to the new Whites being produced by Lacuna Sports, and the Unicorns Girls and Women will wear these when they play.
  • Where the Unicorns set up a fixture in addition to wearing the NBCC Whites, we will also provide players in order to make up a full team.
  • Where NBCC set up a fixture we will invite the Unicornesses (sorry couldn’t resist) to play.

In the future any ‘stand alone’ Unicorns Girls and Women’s Team will hopefully use Lacuna Sports and have the NBCC logo on their sleeve.

Mentoring

With the Club introducing a range of new roles both off and on the field we will act as mentor as required, if requested by the club or individuals.

Pre Season Match

We have our now annual pre season game scheduled for the 14th April.