WITH youth and grassroots sport making a tentative return yesterday, there was a hive of activity down at Bradford & Bingley's Wagon Lane ground.

That is where Bradford League batting legend Mark Gilliver is running two weeks of cricket camps (Monday to Friday) this Easter for six to 13-year-olds.

He is being joined by former England and Yorkshire all-rounder Craig White for the first two days too.

It has been a tough year or so for Gilliver and cricket-loving kids in the district, but this has provided a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

The former Undercliffe star said: "The last year has been a nightmare for everyone, so there was so much enthusiasm and the kids were really excited when they arrived, all 30 of them.

"We can't go inside, so it's all outdoors, but we've been able to split them into groups of eight and we're sticking to the rules in place."

Gilliver added: "I've had a business called The Cricket School for a while, that runs from Menston.

"I'd been doing the nets down here at Bradford & Bingley and last year they said I could use the facilities. I've got a shop here too.

"But it's all been shut for the last three months. I normally coach in schools and haven't been able to do any of that either.

"We were able to run a couple of summer camps when restrictions eased, but that's been about it for the last eight months."

Brighter times are beckoning though, and it means Gilliver can go back to running camps alongside some famous Yorkshire names.

He enthused: "Anthony McGrath is an ambassador of ours and he's one of my best mates.

"Chalky (White) and Darren Lehmann are brother-in-laws, so both have helped out with coaching too.

"Craig's from my era and is my age (51). He was my favourite all-rounder back in the day, so to say all three of them are good mates of mine now is brilliant.

"A lot of the kids don't know who they are, but their parents do, so they'll tell them all about how good they were as cricketers."

Gilliver was no mug himself. The Yorkshireman was at Leicestershire as a youngster, but made his name in the Bradford League.

Playing for the likes of Manningham Mills, Undercliffe and Idle, he amassed nearly 16,000 runs, putting him fourth on the league's all-time top run scorers list.

He said: "Undercliffe was probably where I had the best time. I got lots of my runs there and hit 1,000 in a couple of seasons.

"I played for Bradford & Bingley's seconds last year a few times, as you do still get bitten by the playing bug, but I was only really doing it to help out."

The Cricket School camps this Easter cost £20 a day, or £80 for the week.

You can book here: https://thecricketschool.co.uk/cricket_camps