The Jersey Cricket Board have unveiled plans to increase female participation in the sport and aid female players reach their full potential by launching an indoor 6-a-side league for girls in school years 5-8. The newly formed indoor tournament is scheduled to start on the fifth of November and is organised in a round-robin style format during a six-week schedule.
When talking about the introduction of the tournament to the Jersey Evening Post, Lee Meloy, Jersey Cricket Board’s development manager, said: ‘By providing them with opportunities during the colder months we hope we won’t have a drop off in participation. We currently have good numbers at the very introductory stage of cricket but we need to bridge that gap to the more elite-level cricket by providing girls with the chance to improve their technical skills’.
The tournament will use a modified ball for its duration which Meloy believes helps to grow the game. Meloy explained that an ‘”Incrediball” lies between a tennis ball and a hard cricket ball. Children from a young age tend to play with tennis balls and the Incrediball allows them to grow in confidence to eventually move onto a hardball which can be daunting when you are young. We will be using bats and gloves only, helmets are not introduced until later on in their development’.
When further elaborating on the development plan of the Jersey Cricket Board, the development manager went on to explain that:
‘At the bottom of the pyramid we have the introductory stages of the game which focuses around participation in schools. After that we need to create a clear pathway to the top of the pyramid which is our Jersey Women’s cricket side. The indoor league is one of many ideas we hope to implement in the next few years to keep girls in the game as they grow up and make that transition from junior to senior cricket … Not everyone is going to want to make that jump to playing for Jersey but we want to make cricket accessible for everyone and if we had multiple ladies clubs playing each other throughout the season then people could enjoy cricket for every purpose whether that be just for fun or to hone their skills and make that jump up to the women’s Island side.’
Meloy stated that the next few years will be crucial in the development of women’s cricket in Jersey. Despite the unusual global situation during 2020, the world got an insight into Jersey’s exciting young women’s national squad. The Island’s women’s team travelled to Belfast to play against Northern Knights during a tour which saw players like Chloe Greechan display their talent.
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