ROUNDERS: INTERNATIONAL rounders umpire and qualified coach Mike Kennedy hopes to launch a team in the borough after Bankfield School was accepted as a centre of excellence for the sport.
Kennedy, who has more than seven years experience of coaching St Helens' Canterbury Belles club, reckons Halton could 'easily' form teams to match any of the UK's top squads, if interest can be generated.
Kennedy said: 'In Halton, we have the potential to form a number of good rounders teams.
'I think that if we can bring about the right interest and get school kids and parents involved then we can really move forward and start the process of setting up teams.
'Rounders is a game both boys and girls can play as it is non-contact.
'Students play it in school but their interest tends to drop off when they leave the classroom.
'It is a really enjoyable game and we hope we can get a few teams up and running soon.'
Kennedy, a Halton Transport bus driver, has already drafted in the help of his employers who will post up flyers about the launch on every Widnes and Runcorn bus.
He has also spoken to councillors Eddie Jones and Tom McInerney about the possibility of the council marking out pitches in Victoria Park in time for the summer.
He added: 'I have been in touch with the relevant people at the council and they are backing me, the school and the project.
'They, like I do, realise that we need to get kids more involved in physical activity and if getting some rounders pitches on the fields this summer helps achieve that, then they say they would be prepared to do it.'
Widnes's 'star centre' at Bankfield School in Liverpool Road has been recognised as the base in which the sport can grow and Kennedy hopes he can pull in players from many other schools in the borough.
He said: 'The star centre at Bank-field is all ready to go and now we just need some players and then we can compete against other areas such as Rochdale and North Wales.
'I have a coaching qualification to coach teachers in Halton and hopefully they can encourage players along.
'But it does not stop at youngsters. I would be interest to hear from businesses who may think about getting involved - even on the playing side of things - as rounders is a sport for all ages and talents.'
For more information, telephone Mike Kennedy on 07876 205082.