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Recreational cricket grows again

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Overall participation in recreation cricket was up by 24% in 2008

The England and Wales Cricket Board today confirmed an increase in participation across the recreational game in 2008.

Overall, there was an increase of 24% in participation, with a 49% increase in the number of women and girls taking part in cricket; a 137% increase in disability cricket participation and a 30% increase in black and ethnic minority participation.

The ECB report, published for the second year using data collated from ECB focus clubs across England and Wales, also recorded a 48% increase in years five, six and seven school participation and a 33% increase in five-16 year old participation across both schools and clubs.

Peter Ackerley, ECB head of development, said: “The ECB development team has worked tirelessly to increase opportunities for people to be involved in cricket across England and Wales; through schools and clubs and by providing quality community coaching courses through the Sky Sports coach education programme.

“What is particularly pleasing is the significant growth of cricket in schools and amongst women and disability players. By creating a strategic development pathway between clubs and schools which includes the delivery of quality coaching, cricket is a key provider of community sport."

Clare Connor OBE, ECB head of women’s cricket and the first woman to be appointed to the ICC Cricket Committee, said: “I am delighted by these latest figures, which come on the back of a 45% rise in participation in 2007.

“Thanks to huge efforts in the recreational game there is genuine depth to women's and girl's cricket with more girls playing in schools and progressing into clubs and junior county teams.

“With the national team recently crowned ICC world champions it is pleasing to see that competition for places will be fierce in the short and the long term."

The ECB report also recorded a 26% increase in volunteers, a 14% increase in coaching sessions at clubs and a 13% increase in level one and level two qualified coaches.