Ealham comes home to start his new career

Monday 16th November 2009

By Mark Pennell

Former Kent and Nottinghamshire all-rounder Mark Ealham has returned to his Kentish roots in the aim of putting something back into the game as cricket master at King“s School in Canterbury.

The 40-year-old called time on a 21-year county career in September by retiring from first-class cricket after 281 games for England, Kent and more latterly the Outlaws.

During his 15 seasons at St Lawrence Mark won eight Test and 64 ODI caps and helped the county to one-day league triumphs in 1995 and 2001.

He is now back in the city having replaced his father, ex-Kent captain and Canterbury crowd favourite, Alan as the school“s cricket master,

Ealham will also assist in coaching squash but, in terms of cricket, will work with pupils aged seven years and upwards at Junior King“s School right through to the 18-year-old seniors in the King“s first XI.

He said: "It“s great fun working with the juniors. Let them loose in the sports hall with a few tennis balls and it“s hilarious, they“ve so much energy you“d think they“d all eaten a tube of Smarties before class!

"I drive home to Guildford on Friday nights and I“m shattered, but it is great fun.

"I“m also hoping to maintain my contacts with the county game and with Kent in particular.

"If I can mix my roles with the school and stay in touch with Paul Farbrace and Simon Willis at the same time, I“d like to think that can only be good for everyone involved."

Commenting on this latest phase of his career in cricket, Mark added: "My dad worked at the school for just over 10 years full-time, but had a part-time association with them for well over 30 years.

"In terms of timing this has worked out well for everyone. It“s also been a smooth handover for the school too because my dad“s been able to brief me on the staff I“ll be working alongside as well as giving me the low-down on all the players he“s produced through their coaching system thus far.

"I“ve been at the school just over a month so far and am really enjoying it. Already I can see there are quite a few good, young cricketers amongst the squads."

He added: "If I“m honest, I hadn“t really got a master-plan for my retirement once I stopped playing. I haven“t done much coaching for a couple of years and when I was younger coaching didn“t really seem like an option.

"But I“m a bit older and wiser now and do get much more enjoyment in passing a few things on to those children who are prepared to listen.

"I“ve enjoyed it so far and I“m hopeful it will be a long-term commitment. In fact, I“m trying to finish my level three coaching certificate at the moment."

Photo: Getty Images