ECB today announced its grassroots cricket participation figures for adults and children over the age of 14. These figures have been derived from ECBs Eureka! insight programme.
This year’s research showed a seven per cent decrease in the total number of players playing cricket in teams – down from 908,000 in 2013 to 844,000 in 2014.
Males represented 93 per cent of the participation base with females representing seven per cent – the same gender breakdown as in 2013. The survey also revealed that 30 per cent of grassroots cricketers are drawn from ethnic minorities and 53 per cent of cricketers would like to play the game more often.
The findings are based on 37,500 responses from recreational cricketers to this year’s National Playing Survey together with detailed analysis of more than 1.2 million scorecards from play-cricket.com and player panel research.
This represented a significant increase on the 21,500 responses from recreational cricketers to the inaugural survey which was introduced last year as part of ECB’s wider efforts to engage more closely with the amateur game.
The survey revealed that poor weather contributed to the decline in participation. 70 per cent of amateur cricket is played on Saturdays and only 15 Saturdays were rated ‘dry’ in 2014 compared with 20 in 2013.
Further detailed analysis of the survey’s findings also revealed that:
- 247,000 were ‘Core’ players who play at least twelve weeks of a 26 week summer season.
- 405,000 were ‘Occasional’ players who play between three and eleven weeks of a 26 week summer season.
- 192,000 were ‘Cameo’ players who play one or two weeks of a 26 week summer season.
ECB’s Chief Operating Officer Gordon Hollins said: “ECB recognised the participation challenges that have been facing all team sports and we were determined to gain a greater insight into those issues and find long term solutions. To do that ECB changed the way in which it measured participation last year and introduced the new National Cricket Playing Survey as part of our wider efforts to gain a greater understanding of what drives grassroots cricket participation.
“Thanks to an excellent response ECB now has a much clearer picture than ever before of who plays recreational cricket, what type of cricket they prefer to play, when they want to play it and we are now setting about finding ways in which we can best address their needs going forward.
“We are already working in partnership with our 39 County Cricket Boards as part of a detailed participation review. We will join them in working with their respective cricket leagues to tackle key factors which affect participation such as match end time, travel distance to matches, playing format, length of game and club/school links.
“This year, we’ve run a pilot ‘player communications’ programme in four counties targeting current and lapsed players which has produced encouraging results. We’ve also launched a programme of engagement and development with South Asian communities which has been backed up by capital and revenue investment in five major cities with a high South Asian population.
“Our recreational game also experienced greater frequency of rainfall on Saturdays in 2014 than in the wet summer of 2012 and in the New Year we’ll be announcing further plans to support clubs in their efforts to mitigate the impact of wet weather which had a significant impact on the number of fixtures completed.”