Chris Brown set to leave Norfolk and take up exciting role with Cricket Ireland in the New Year

29th November 2023

Norfolk Cricket Board Performance Manager and Pathway Lead Chris Brown has been appointed as Cricket Ireland’s new High Performance Spin Bowling Coach and will be starting the full-time role in early January.

Chris will vacate his formal positions in Norfolk including his Cricket Board roles but also his position as Norfolk County Cricket Club Coach.

Having first moved to Norfolk in 2001 to play for Norfolk CCC in the Minor Counties Cricket Association ‘MCCA’ Competitions, Chris quickly settled and has been a permanent fixture within cricket in Norfolk ever since.

He played for Norfolk between 2001 and 2018 and had the honour of captaining between 2013 and 2018 when he retired from County Cricket. Capped by Norfolk in 2001, Chris played 100 Championship games and 65 One-Day matches over his 17-year career. He took over 500 wickets and scored more than 2000 runs during this time.

Chris helped Norfolk to win the MCCA Eastern Championship in 2002 and three MCCA One-Day Trophies with wins at Lord’s in 2001, Slough in 2005 and The Riverside in 2009. On retiring from playing for Norfolk in 2018, Chris took up the role as Head Coach of Norfolk CCC and has held this position ever since.

Despite his playing accolades with Norfolk CCC and Horsford Cricket Club, arguably, it is Chris’ work with the Norfolk Cricket Board where he has made the biggest impact to cricket within the county over the last 22 years.

He first started work for the Board in the early 2000’s as a coach working in schools and on the junior county pathway. Over the years, Chris’ responsibilities increased and by 2007 he was appointed Emerging Players Programme Head Coach and soon took on the role of Performance Manager and Pathway Lead for the NCB. Chris has also played a key role over the last 20 years as Coach Developer which has seen him help hundreds of local coaches attain their first coaching qualifications.

As Head of the Boys and Girls pathway, Chris has helped coach and develop thousands of cricketers and played a key role in several young cricketers (boys and girls) going on to play professional cricket, most notably England Cricketer Olly Stone who came through the Norfolk pathway and EPP during Chris’ time as Performance Manager.

Chris is thrilled to take up the new role but reflects very fondly of his 22-year service to cricket in Norfolk. He said: “I have loved every second of my time in Norfolk, from winning a Lord’ final in my first season in 2001, to my current role as Performance Manager for the Norfolk Youth Pathway. My sole focus after I retired from playing and becoming coach in 2018, was to develop players.

“I was fortunate enough to win several trophies with Norfolk as a player where we played in an era with some exceptional players. National Counties cricket has changed considerably over the last decade with new age restrictions being implemented and therefore, it is vital that we have a supply of players from within our own pathway moving forward.

“I am incredibly proud of the number of players that have come through our pathway programmes and gone on to represent professional counties and academies; that is the sole purpose of the pathway programme. There are so many people that I owe my gratitude to over the last 20 years including Board Directors, colleagues, coaches, parents and many more. I’m fortunate to have created so many lifelong friendships over this time.”

“Whilst I’m thrilled and excited to be joining a Test Playing Nation on a full-time basis with Cricket Ireland, Norfolk and its people will always be special to me. I would like to pay special thanks to Lewis Denmark who has provided exceptional Norfolk Cricket Board support after succeeding Kieron Tuck and to Mike Hanby and David Bowker from Norfolk County Cricket Club.”

Lewis Denmark, Cricket Development Director for the Norfolk Cricket Board, had nothing but praise for Chris and is delighted that his hard work has led to him receiving this exciting opportunity with a Test playing nation.

“Chris has played a key role in developing cricket across Norfolk since arriving in 2001 and whilst he will be missed, he leaves the Norfolk Pathway in a strong position and creates an exciting opportunity for somebody new to come in and build upon the strong foundations that he has built. Chris’ stature as a coach has grown significantly over the last decade with his work for the Board, NCCC, Gresham’s School, Horsford, ECB and other ICC Nations, notably Zimbabwe and Cricket Scotland during the last two ICC T20 World Cup’s and therefore it does not come as a great surprise to me that he has been offered this role with Cricket Ireland.

“Chris has been a pleasure to work with since taking over as Cricket Development Director in 2020 and I wish him all the best in his new role.”

Jane Hannah, Chair of the Norfolk Cricket Board, is thrilled for Chris and this exciting new role. “It is testament to his hard work and dedication and most notably the difference he makes to players, coaches, and those around him.

“Whilst he will be missed on the Norfolk scene, we look forward to working with Chris to appoint a new lead who will take performance cricket to the next stage in Norfolk. From all the Board we wish Chris every success in his future.”

Mike Hanby, Norfolk County Cricket Club Chair, said: “On behalf of everyone at Norfolk CCC I would like to congratulate Chris on this prestigious appointment. I first met Chris in 1994 when we played against each other, and Chris was a young 19-year-old on the Lancashire staff.

“Since then, I have kept a close eye on his career and his many superb achievements. I always knew that he was destined for higher things. It has been great pleasure to work with Chris more closely over the last three years since I became Chair and share in his passion for Norfolk cricket and the wider game in general.”

“His contribution to the club has been immense and he will leave us with a big hole to fill. This opportunity is something Chris has been working towards for a number of years and I know he will be a great success. Chris leaves with our very best wishes and he will forever have a big place in Norfolk cricket history.”

Consideration on timing and nature of any recruitment process for a successor will be undertaken in due course by the Norfolk Cricket Board.

ENDS 29/11/2023.