The eight-week All Stars Cricket programme, which returns in 2018, has been hailed by coaches and clubs in all corners in Wales – from Dolgellau in the north to Newport in the east – as the drive to increase participation in junior cricket continues in earnest.
initiative to improve their batting, bowling, throwing and catching skills, gaining a healthy attitude towards exercise and an interest in Glamorgan Cricket.
Each youngster a bat and ball, personalised kit and an activity book to set them on their way. They are also immersed in the spirit of cricket, namely the importance of respecting others, as well as teamwork, which can just as easily be applied to a wide range of other sports.
More than 130 centres in all corners of Wales are introducing youngsters to cricket this year, up from the 93 clubs who took part last year, hinting at the potential to grow the game in new areas.
As All Stars Activator at Dolgellau Cricket Club, Gareth Lanagan explains, “If you go to England, there are a lot of village clubs that are thriving, but there are a lot of places around Dolgellau, Aberaeron and Aberystwyth which don’t have any clubs any more. The sessions are all about giving kids a chance to play cricket in an area maybe where they wouldn’t get that chance and it’s creating a buzz about cricket.”
Lead Activator in Dinas Powys, Stuart Jones says that the programme has breathed new life into the sport amongst youngsters. “At the beginning of the programme, we were anticipating 10 to 15 kids but the way it was marketed by the ECB, we ended up with 41. Those numbers are fantastic for such a small club. It’s been a great benefit for us. It was a no brainer – this will rejuvenate the club.”
Newport Activator Richard Jones added, “What has impressed me about the All Stars programme is that the children are learning the basic techniques that underpin cricket. And the hope is that they will go on and play for Newport Fugitives long into the future.”
Mark Ellis, junior coordinator with Barry Athletic, added: “All Stars has been a brilliant way of getting kids involved who were not involved before. I went around promoting All Stars to the schools around Barry and we had 70 kids who have joined the club who wouldn’t have joined before. It is an opportunity that wouldn’t have been there before and the ECB have ploughed through and really supported the programme.”