More opportunities for more kids to get involved - new structure for junior and youth cricket
Cricket Ireland today launched a new structure and funding injection for junior and youth cricket in Ireland, as part of its ongoing programme to increase participation and enjoyment of the sport across Ireland and Northern Ireland.
“Cricket is the world’s second most popular sport, and is now established as the fourth largest participation sport in Ireland,” said Elaine Nolan, Participation Director for Cricket Ireland.
“Since 2007 we have seen significant increases in interest, support and participation in cricket across this island – and while this has been encouraging, we understand there is a need to transfer occasional involvement into lifelong participation and to make the sport more accessible and attractive for kids to play.”
On the back of achieving Full Membership of the ICC in 2017, one of the next priorities was to undertake a complete review of the domestic and grassroots set-up of the sport.
“While the role of supporting and sustaining club cricket belongs to our Provincial Unions, we recognise that volunteer time is finite, so Cricket Ireland has been providing the Unions with the opportunity, capacity and the resources to support the clubs. This support saw the appointment of full-time General Managers for each Provincial Union in 2017, and recently seen the further addition of administrative staff to support cricket operations across club and representative cricket.”
On the field, Cricket Ireland’s review of junior and youth cricket has been completed and a new structure established for the 2018 season.
“Today we are launching a new structure for junior and youth cricket in Ireland that aims to provide more young cricketers with exciting, challenging, enjoyable cricket experiences. We want more people playing cricket, more players joining clubs, and more schools offering cricket,” said Ms Nolan.
“The lifeblood of our sport is the 119 clubs operating across this island, but the future success and growth of these clubs means we need to attract and retain kids in the sport.”
“Cricket has so much to offer kids - it is a non-contact sport, and one which girls and boys can play together in the early years. The skills learnt through cricket benefit kids in all aspects of life – hand-eye coordination, self-confidence, socialisation and team skills can be achieved through a healthy outdoor activity.”
Image: “We want to make the sport more accessible and attractive for kids to play.”
“We have designed the new structures around best practice programmes and learnings from top cricket nations like New Zealand, Australia and England. However, we also need to ensure we reflect where cricket is as a sport within the Irish context.”
The new structure will ensure that, for the first time, a consistent approach is being taken to junior and youth playing conditions and rule modifications across the country. The structure, and accompanying guidelines, places the players experience front-and-centre by simplifying rules and removing as many barriers as possible to ensure kids enjoy the game first-and-foremost.
• Download the ‘Play Cricket’ overview or individual fact sheets for:
o Modified Cricket
o Under-13s Regional Zone Cricket
“The new structure aims to provide all players with their own pathway in the sport where those who love the game will continue to play the levels that suit them,” said Ms Nolan.
“The biggest change to junior representative cricket in 2018 is the regionalisation of investment at Under-11 and Under-13 levels. Instead of Cricket Ireland directly investing in the Inter-Provincial Competitions for these age groups, our investment now will be regional versions of these competitions for both girls and boys.”
“The change will hopefully ensure all kids can benefit from outstanding coaching and access to these coaches. We want to ensure that many young people are involved, and are retained, in the regional programmes and within club cricket for years to come.”
“With regards to the Youth Boys Inter-Provincials, this funding injection has helped us make the Under-15 and Under-17 competitions week-long tournaments, which will give players the opportunity to play both 50-over and T20 cricket formats.”
“By implementing these structural changes to junior and youth cricket, we believe we can create a larger pool of boys and girls giving cricket a go. This should lead to greater club involvement, where kids will enjoy being part of a sporting community that is diverse and supportive.”
To support these new fixtures, Cricket Ireland is also pleased to announce that Hanley Energy – main sponsor of the Ireland Women’s team and the domestic Inter-Provincial Series – has agreed to sponsor this new regional structure:
“Cricket in Ireland has achieved much in recent years, however, we all recognise the need to plan for the future in order to sustain this success. Hanley Energy is therefore, delighted to deepen its support for cricket in Ireland through sponsoring the Youth Inter-Pros Series. This series will feature our best up-and-coming talent and will showcase why the future is very bright indeed for Irish Cricket,” said Clive Gilmore, CEO and Co-Founder of Hanley Energy.
Image: “We need to attract and retain kids in the sport.”
Visit the Play Cricket page for more information.