A NEW Zealander is implementing England and Wales Cricket Board coaching sessions for Ilkley's boys and girls.

Kiwi James Gifford is overseeing the 2019 All Stars cricket sessions, which began at Olicanian Cricket Club’s Denton Road ground on Friday.

More than 50 boys and girls attended the sessions, which are aimed at introducing the game to children aged between five and eight years old.

The 19-year-old from Hamilton in the North Island is the club’s overseas player this season.

He opens the batting and bowls off-spin, but he has also become passionate about the All Stars sessions.

“I’m half English - my mother was born in Bristol - so I’m quite comfortable about trying to produce young English cricketers,” he said.

James paid his own way over to the UK for the season. His accommodation is funded by fellow Olicanian player Barry Oldham through his company Wharfedale Refrigeration.

“James was here last year and was very popular with the parents of our young players, so we wanted to do what we could to make it possible for him to come back and coach the youngsters again,” said Oldham.

Olicanian CC hosts the All-Stars programme, which sees the ECB supply kit and equipment and aims to prepare youngsters for the start of structured cricket at the under-9’s age group.

“We’ve been inundated with enquiries from parents wanting their children to join the sessions and, sadly, we’ve not been able to accommodate everyone but it’s good to see so many people wanting their youngsters to play cricket,” said Olicanian CC chairman David House.