ECB set to inspire more women and girls to get into cricket this summer
To mark the start of Women’s Sport Week today, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced a series of exciting opportunities and initiatives to help inspire and motivate more women and girls across the country to play cricket.
Aligning to Sport England’s award-winning “This Girl Can” campaign, the ECB is encouraging cricket clubs up and down the country to register online (http://www.ecb.co.uk/ecb/one-game/this-girl-can) to be part of a nationwide push to inspire more women and girls to get into the game.
By signing-up, clubs will be able to access bespoke guidance documents and resources suggesting new ways to attract women to the sport. In addition, clubs will commit to running taster sessions and other cricket activities specifically targeting local women to play the game this summer and beyond.
As part of the wider recruitment drive, the ECB is also due to deliver four exciting new cricket festivals this month for women of all abilities to enjoy.
The festivals, which will focus on being fun, social and inclusive, will involve eight and six aside matches, with participants able to sign-up individually or with a group of friends. They will take place in Birmingham and St Albans on June 14, followed by Bristol and Tadcaster on June 21.
ECB’s Director of England Women’s Cricket, Clare Connor, said: “Over the last decade significant steps have been taken to increase female participation within cricket, and the number of clubs offering cricket to women and girls has increased from 93 to more than 565. However, our research has demonstrated that the ‘traditional cricket offer’ consisting of longer versions of the game, played in whites and with a hardball is not always appealing to women who are new to the sport.
“The ECB is therefore working really hard to counter this – both in the short-term this month through the four festivals, but also in the longer-term and across the country, by engaging with our recreational club network and sharing our learnings. By giving cricket clubs the tools and resources to ensure that they are delivering the most attractive sort of cricket activity to appeal to women and girls, we hope we will see increased participation levels.
“Sport England’s “This Girl Can” campaign has been brilliant in galvanising support for women’s sport generally. Their research and insight has revealed what the barriers are which hold back many women and girls from participating in organised sport. We now need to use this and the positive momentum of the campaign to promote cricket as a fun, sociable game that women and girls can play with friends in welcoming environments. We have a fantastic opportunity this summer when we host the Women’s Ashes to continue to build the profile of women’s cricket, and to inspire even more women and girls to get involved in the game.”
The England women’s team will put their Ashes preparations to one side this Sunday (June 7) as they bid to inspire women and girls in north-west London to get into the game. From 12.00-13.00, Charlotte Edwards and the rest of the England women’s team will deliver a fun cricketing masterclass as part of a new women’s and girls’ coaching programme at Hampstead Cricket Club (HCC), before taking on a HCC Select XI in a 25-over per side match. All proceeds from the day will go towards developing women’s and girls’ cricket at the club.
Speaking about the day, Hampstead CC Chairman, Jim Carter (of Downton Abbey fame), said: “I am absolutely thrilled that the England women’s team have agreed to deliver the masterclass session on Sunday. They are such an inspiration for women and girls, and we are honoured as a club to get the opportunity to host them. Women’s cricket is such an integral part of Hampstead CC and we are committed to developing the game further. I urge all local women and girls to come along on Sunday and give cricket a go.”
For more information and to register your cricket club’s interest to take part in the ECB’s “This Girl Can… Play Cricket” campaign, please go to: http://www.ecb.co.uk/ecb/one-game/this-girl-can