The ECB is calling on recreational cricketers to have their say and influence the future of cricket at grassroots level in its second annual National Cricket Playing survey.
Last year more than 21,000 current and former players responded to the survey – the first of its kind ever undertaken by ECB - and the national governing body is already acting on the comprehensive and wide-ranging feedback received.
Clubs and leagues nationwide are introducing new formats, rule changes, different start times, shorter travel distances to matches and greater opportunities for women, girls and people with a disability to play the game.
Examples of change at county level since last year’s inaugural survey include:
- The introduction of a new Crick8 competition – a short, sharp 50-minute version of the game with double scoring zones and coloured clothing aimed at teenagers (Cornwall).
- The creation of a new Last Woman Stands competition to run alongside the men’s version of the popular Last Man Stands eight-a-side format (Northamptonshire).
- A new open age player transfer system to allow players who do not have a fixture to turn out for another team (Yorkshire and District Senior League).
- A fresh drive to recruit new umpires – with 13 players gaining Level One umpiring qualifications (Bradford League).
The 2014 survey, which goes live today, aims to reach an even wider audience and generate further ideas and innovations which will help increase take-up of the sport. Every player, from Premier League regulars to the occasional, midweek social cricketer is being urged to have their say on all aspects of the recreational game.
Devised as part of the ECB’s strategic plan, Champion Counties, the survey’s responses give ECB a greater understanding of what amateur cricketers want from the sport, which formats they prefer and how it fits best with busy, modern lifestyles.
The findings will support ECB’s wider plans to invest more than £96 million into community cricket over the next four years across its national network of 39 County Cricket Boards.
ECB Chief Executive, David Collier, said: “Last year’s survey attracted a fantastic response and our county cricket boards and leagues have already responded with innovative and forward-thinking ideas which will all help attract more people to the sport and make it as inclusive as possible.
“Whether it’s varying match times to suit the needs of shift workers or experimenting with innovative rule changes, our recreational game has shown a real willingness to be adaptable and responsive to players’ feedback.
“This all supports ECB’s wider efforts to help sustain cricket at a local level by investing in facilities and pitches, encouraging clubs to be fully representative of their local communities and offering maximum support to umpires, coaches, scorers and other volunteers who give up their time to support our grassroots game.“