The Armadale Cricket Club coach recently won the community coach of the year title at the WACA Junior Awards, which celebrates community cricket in WA.
Francis said he had relished coaching the club’s junior cricketers for the past 13 years.
‘Sport is an integral part of childhood and cricket can develop teamwork and social skills,’ he said.
‘Cricket teaches discipline and training hard is integral to success on the field.’
The Mt Nasura resident said he was humbled to claim the award.
‘Coaching can be a thankless job at times, so it feels nice to be acknowledged,’ he said.
‘I love coaching children because you get to watch them grow up.’
Francis hoped children would continue to be encouraged to pursue sports amid an evolving landscape.
‘Traditionally, most kids played sports when they were young but times have changed,’ he said.
‘Parents are busy and now more options, like computer games, tend to occupy kids.
‘It is really important to get youth invested in sport.’
A stalwart of Armadale cricket, Francis has played 278 games, scored 4588 runs and claimed 433 wickets during his 25-year career.
‘I want to keep playing because I love cricket and the club,’ he said. ‘It has been great to pass on my knowledge to the young players.’