A FORMER Warwickshire and England cricketer is flourishing in his role by helping the game’s next generation of stars at a borough school.
Darren Maddy led the Bears from 2006 to 2008 and continued playing at Edgbaston until his retirement in 2013, when he was then appointed master of cricket at Solihull School.
The 42-year-old, who played three test matches, eight one-day internationals and five Twenty20 games for England, took over from David Hemp and has since built on the foundations laid by the former Glamorgan batsman.
Under Maddy’s guidance, the under-13s team has swept the board this summer, winning every competition from the Solihull 6s to the ESCA national cup.
The school’s success comes following a period of uncertainty from Maddy who admits he was unsure about his future following retirement.
He said: “In the years leading up to 2013, I knew my retirement was imminent.
“I had options to possibly explore playing county cricket elsewhere but I just felt it was coming to the end of my chapter and it was time to move on.
“A month on from having announced my retirement, I had three serious job offers – including one from Leicestershire as strength and conditioning coach, which I thought long and hard about.
“Then I found out David (Hemp) was leaving Solihull to move to Australia.
“After meeting the head master and going through the interview process, I started in November 2013.”
Maddy said acting as master of cricket has presented new challenges as he battles to get teams prepared in time for the ten weeks of cricket prior to the school holidays.
In total, 130 fixtures take place at Solihull School during the summer term – something which Maddy said has opened his eyes to beyond the playing side of cricket.
He said: “I’ve been the mini-bus driver, the tea boy, drinks boy, umpire, coach and manager – it’s an all-encompassing role, which is great.
“It’s very enjoyable and, as intense as it is, I wish the season could go on for longer.
“It has given me a real insight and an even greater appreciation of all the hard work which administrators do behind the scenes.”
Solihull School introduced sports scholarships three years ago – something Maddy believes to be key in allowing young cricketers to excel.
The former all-rounder said the scholars benefit players in all aspects of the game, including psychologically, nutritionally and physically.
He added: “The lads are now becoming cricketers and that’s not necessarily what we’ve had before – actual cricket thinkers.
“We may have had talented individuals but now the boys are thinking in the correct way and that makes a big difference.
“If one or two go on to become professional cricketers that would be outstanding.
“But even if I can get these boys playing club cricket until the age of 40 then that’s a success because a lot of them may not have previously gone down that road.”