With its launch in March this year, All Stars Cricket set about introducing girls and boys across England and Wales to our unique sport.
Just over two short months later, almost 35,000 children – and counting – are learning to play the game with a smile on their face and friends and family joining in the fun alongside them.
And this number looks set to grow as 500 participating centres prepare to kick off their sessions in June, with opportunities for even more families to experience the joys of an All Stars Cricket summer.
For the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the many centres up and down the country, the measure of success is simple: deliver fun, friendships and skills in an environment tailor-made for kids aged five to eight to give them the best possible first experience of cricket.
Now it’s here and happening, what does the programme actually look like in action?
Each one of the eight weekly sessions focuses on a particular skill – catching, communication or throwing, for example – with participants earning their skill-specific All Stars Cricket badge before moving on to the next challenge.
All of the session activities are supplemented by special video messages from England players including Test captain Joe Root, bowler Stuart Broad and Women’s World Cup England squad members Laura Marsh and Natalie Sciver.
Not forgetting mum and dad, there is a series of garden games videos to help little All Stars build on what they’ve learnt that week and get the whole family involved!
With many programmes now underway from Aberystwyth to Accrington and Halstead to Hyde, some of our parents have given us their initial verdict.
First off, mum Hannah Willis: “First session today and my six-year-old had been a bit anxious prior to starting. As soon as we got there he got involved and was totally engaged from the start to finish. Excellent, enthusiastic coaches and a great way to see young children keeping fit, having fun and developing team spirit.”
James Kelly's little star also enjoyed their first All Stars Cricket runaround: “Great first session at Alleyn CC. Enthusiastic coaches, lots of different activities focusing on core skills; one very happy five-year-old!”
“My son started today in Lutterworth. The kit is great and the coaches were fantastic. He was unsure about cricket but is now buzzing about it!”
And Fran Stead's son was one of our newest converts to the game: “My son started today in Lutterworth. The kit is great and the coaches were fantastic. He was unsure about cricket but is now buzzing about it!”
Adam Sellick is parent to another enthusiastic All Star: “My five-year-old daughter had her first session at Plympton CC, she absolutely loved it and already can't wait for next Friday.”
There is still time to get involved if you would like your son or daughter to be part of All Stars Cricket. Use our centre finder to locate your nearest programme and sign up today.