Cricket in the UK has its misconceptions, often being seen as only a summer sport, a game that lasts for hours and only welcomes men. In a study conducted early this year by ‘Statista’, it revealed mixed opinions on the sport. While 37 percent of respondents liked cricket, 36 percent revealed a dislike for the game. If you Google British cricket players, Freddie Flintoff, Ben Stokes and Kevin Peterson all appear alongside each other, with no females by their side. Even though these famous faces all increase the visibility of the sport, it still has a lot to do to engage the young people and women of this country.
One club in Lincolnshire has been working hard to change misconceptions about the game and following the return to club activities after the Covid, they have welcomed the opportunity to engage with as many children from the age of 5 upwards and encourage participation in the sport.
Thanks to Sport England’s Together Fund, distributed through Active Lincolnshire, Hartsholme Cricket Club, based in South-West Lincoln, took the opportunity to provide 6 hours of coaching per week for six months, supporting boys and girls from 5-11 years of age, with each of them getting their own bat.
The Club Coaches were able to visit schools around the local area and run whole afternoons of cricket activities throughout the year as well as during the school summer holidays, which was welcomed by a lot of the local families.
Youth Development Manager, Ian Dovey, has been involved with cricket since 1999 when his son started playing, and he is all too familiar with the way cricket is sometimes perceived. However, he is delighted that he has started to see this shift, thanks to the club’s efforts,
‘’Cricket has had an image problem for many years, and Hartsholme have been working hard to make sure this changes. The key for us has been working with the local schools, which the Together Fund has helped us to do successfully. Schools often see cricket as a complicated game that takes too long to play, therefore we come along and bring cricket to the children, introducing the sport to all ages and abilities. We now have 152 children playing through the club, 50 of those being girls and we have been credited with being an ECB Disability Champion Cricket Club, one of three in the county which is great news. We are proud to be a dynamic club, and we are going to keep striving to open up more opportunities to play cricket.’’
The club want to ensure that the sport remains accessible for all who want to play, therefore membership fees are kept low and kit recycling schemes have been set up as a great way of ensuring there are less financial burdens on families. They are continuing to successfully run cricket all year round at their ground in the summer and in a local Academy Sports Hall in the winter.
To ensure that the success of the funding continues, Hartsholme have coaches upgrading their qualifications and five new coaches starting, leading to a total of 14 coaches within the club.
The club have recently started a cricket programme for SEN children in primary schools and will be starting a version for those aged 12 years+ soon.
For those involved in the Club, they see the future is in their young players that have been enthused by the love of the game and the players have a club behind them that is supportive, committed and organised to welcome everyone to join in and keep their passion of cricket alive.
Why not go along and find out what cricket is all about? You can find out more about their sessions for children at:
Or join their parents group on facebook.
You can also contact, Youth Development Manager, Ian Dovey if you have any questions: email@example.com