ECB today released the findings of a comprehensive new study into recreational cricket which shows that 1.7 million people played the sport in the last twelve months.
The game-wide study of grassroots participation revealed that a total of 908,000 people aged over 14 played cricket in teams – with a further 792,000 people playing cricket informally in the garden or on the beach.
The survey also showed that 93 per cent of recreational cricketers were male, with seven per cent female and that the average age for a recreational cricketer was 31 years old.
Ethnic minorities comprised 30 per cent of the overall participation base and members of the south Asian community were six times more likely to play cricket than the average recreational player.
Cricket’s traditional reputation for fair play scored highly with 50 per cent of participants saying the most important factor about a game was that it was played in the right spirit, 58 per cent saying they would like to play more often and 80 per cent finding cricket more enjoyable than other sports they also play.
Commissioned by ECB’s Cricket Partnerships team, the research was based on ECB’s first ever National Playing Survey which attracted more than 21,500 responses from recreational cricketers nationwide together with analysis of more than 1.2 million scorecards from Play-Cricket.com and feedback from twelve Focus Groups.
Further detailed analysis of the headline figure of 908,000 participants revealed that:
· 266,000 were ‘Core’ players who play at least twelve weeks of a 26 week summer season
· 436,000 were ‘Occasional’ players who play between three and eleven weeks of a 26 week summer season
· 206,000 were ‘Cameo’ players who play one or two weeks of a 26 week summer season
· The peak participation period was mid-June when 375,000 people played in teams in a single week
The findings formed part of a wider analysis of grassroots cricket participation which was conducted by Two Circles for ECB and funded via the Sport England Whole Sport Plan.
Commenting on the survey, ECB Chief Executive David Collier said: “This comprehensive and detailed survey has given us a unique insight into who recreational cricketers are, what they want from the sport and how we can best meet their needs.
“All of this information will be vital as we roll-out plans over the next four years to boost participation still further by investing more than £96 million in the recreational game – with improvements in coaching, facilities and the wider club environment a priority.
“Cricket in this country has a long and proud history of embracing different ethnic groups and we are delighted that the survey has revealed such a high level of participation from the south Asian community.
"Attracting even higher levels of participation from ethnic minorities is a key element in our national strategy as is providing even more opportunities for women, girls and disabled cricketers to play the game.”