Participation continues to rise
For the third consecutive year the England and Wales Cricket Board is able to report a double-digit increase in the numbers of people playing cricket across the country.
An annual study of ECB focus clubs revealed that overall participation has risen by 15%. This increase comes on the back of a 24% rise in 2008 and a 27% rise in 2007.
Disability cricket, which officially came under the purview of the ECB in early 2009, experienced the single largest increase in the last 12 months with participation levels up by 66%.
A full breakdown of the increases in participation, within focus clubs, in the last year is as follows:
- Men: 5%
- Women: 11%
- Boys: 13%
- Girls: 27%
Commenting on the increase in participation across grassroots cricket, ECB chief executive David Collier said: “Over the past three years participation has increased significantly on a year-by-year basis.
“For cricket to be able to satisfy this increase in demand it’s essential we continue to invest in building and renovating much-needed pavilions, pitches, and practice facilities.
“Without this continued level of investment there is no doubt we will not be able to cater for the increased number of children who are choosing to play cricket.”
Off the field, grassroots cricket is also going from strength to strength. The Sky Sports Coach Education Programme has helped deliver a 14% increase in qualified cricket coaches with the number of sessions going up by 13% from 2008 levels.
In the last four years this scheme has been responsible for bringing over 23,000 new coaches into the recreational game to cater for the ever increasing numbers of children wanting to play cricket.
Over the course of the last year the ECB has run a concerted campaign to attract greater numbers of volunteers to help out with the running of their local cricket club.
This campaign has been a huge success with focus clubs able to report a 13% increase in the number of club officials, youth team managers and ground staff.
The figures are taken from all 1,079 ECB focus clubs across the country and provide the most detailed and reliable survey, across all age groups, of the state of recreational cricket across England and Wales.