As part of their continued strategy to encourage female participation in the sport locally, they have introduced an indoor 6-a-side cricket league for girls in school years 5-8 which will start on 5 November.
Using an adapted format, the initiative hopes to provide cricket opportunities for girls during the winter months with the aim of aiding their learning of the technical side of the game.
Reflecting on the launch of their new initiative, Lee Meloy Jersey Cricket Board development manager said: ‘By providing them with opportunities during the colder months we hope we won’t have a drop off in participation. We currently have good numbers at the very introductory stage of cricket but we need to bridge that gap to the more elite level cricket by providing girls with the chance to improve their technical skills.’
The league will operate in a round-robin format where teams will play each other every Thursday evening for six weeks picking up points as they go along until a winner is crowned.
The league will also use Incrediball cricket – an adapted version of the game which Meloy said can be vital in a child’s development within the sport.
He added: ‘Incrediball lies between a tennis ball and a hard cricket ball. Children from a young age tend to play with tennis balls and the Incrediball allows them to grow in confidence to eventually move onto a hard ball which can be daunting when you are young. We will be using bats and gloves only, helmets are not introduced until later on in their development.’
Meloy said the response so far has been good with three to four squads of six already being put together.
He added that the initiative is key to building on the base of their development pyramid.
‘At the bottom of the pyramid we have the introductory stages of the game which focuses around participation in schools. After that we need to create a clear pathway to the top of the pyramid which is our Jersey Women’s cricket side. The indoor league is one of many ideas we hope to implement in the next few years to keep girls in the game as they grow up and make that transition from junior to senior cricket.’
Meloy said the ultimate goal is to eventually introduce club level league cricket for women.
‘Not everyone is going to want to make that jump to playing for Jersey but we want to make cricket accessible for everyone and if we had multiple ladies clubs playing each other throughout the season then people could enjoy cricket for every purpose whether that be just for fun or to hone their skills and make that jump up to the women’s Island side.’
Meloy believes female cricket is in a strong position on the Island and said the next few years will be vital to implementing their ongoing strategy to keep as many girls in the game as possible.
To find out more about the indoor 6-a-side league you can email firstname.lastname@example.org