Hundreds of boys and girls in Warwickshire County Cricket Club’s catchment area will be brought into cricket for the first time by a brand new initiative from the England and Wales Cricket Board.
More than 60 clubs on the patch have already signed up to the All Stars Cricket scheme, run by the ECB and rolled out across the region by Warwickshire Cricket Board.
All Stars Cricket will provide children aged five to eight with a great first experience in the sport. After registering, boys and girls will each have a cricket ‘back-pack’ delivered to their door with a bat, ball and everything they need to try the game for the first time.
The programme, which will start on May 19, will consist of eight weekly Friday sessions, delivered at more than 1,500 fully accredited All Stars Cricket centres across England and Wales.
"We want to get boys and girls involved in cricket and participating with their local clubs."
The take-up from clubs throughout the Bears’ patch, from Sutton Coldfield in the north to Alcester & Ragley in the south, has been excellent.
In and around Birmingham, numerous clubs have got involved, including Kings Heath, Harborne, Handsworth, Attock, Moseley, Sutton Coldfield, Four Oaks, Knowle & Dorridge, Solihull Municipal and Solihull Blossomfield.
In the Coventry area, youngsters have been signed up at clubs including Coventry & NW, Standard, Corley and Highway, Bedworth, Nuneaton, Ambleside and Fillongley while in the south of the patch there has been a great take-up at clubs including Warwick, Kenilworth, Leamington Khalsa, Claverdon and Wellesbourne.
But there is scope for more and Warwickshire would love to see every club in the area get involved.
“We want to get boys and girls involved in cricket and participating with their local clubs,” said Warwickshire Cricket Board general manager Ed McCabe. “It is a fun and active way to develop your child’s skills, and through our eight-week programme they will learn lots – as well as make new friends – in a safe and inclusive environment.
“All girls and boys are welcome and each registered child will receive a pack of cricket goodies including a cricket bat, ball, backpack, water bottle and personalised shirt and cap to keep so they can continue their love of cricket when they go home.
“It will also benefit the clubs by, in time, increasing their playing ranks as hopefully youngsters get the bug and stay involved for many years so that eventually their children play there too.”
Parents can sign their kids up for scheme by visiting allstarscricket.co.uk ECB Director of Participation & Growth Matt Dwyer said: “We have big ambitions to significantly grow the game and this programme is all about putting a bat and ball in the hands of more children at an earlier age.
“First and foremost, we want to make playing cricket a fun and enjoyable experience for children and give them a passion for the game to last a lifetime.
“We also want to make sure that parents have a great first experience at the club and give them the chance to have an hour back with their kids every week. We will be encouraging parents to get involved with sessions, whatever their prior knowledge of the game.”