The Winter season has been all about brainstorming for 2020. As Cricket Leinster Women and Girls’ Development Officer, I’ve taken a look at a number of different areas. Schools cricket is one area where I think we are missing a trick and should be able to attract more girls into the game. With that in mind the Schools Committee were kind enough to work with me to take a look at the rules for the different competitions to ensure as many players on each team as possible are getting an opportunity to be a part of the game, rather than just two or three players dominating. This is especially important in schoolgirls cricket because, often, one or two players who play at club level can dominate the game to an extent where others aren’t attracted to stay in the game. Schools cricket should be targeting those who don’t yet play cricket outside of school and encouraging them to take it up as a summer sport. 2020 also sees Indoor cricket is being pioneered by first years in 5 schools that already have girls’ cricket with the hope that we can roll the format out to more schools in 2021. Indoor cricket is quick and, importantly, is not beholden to the weather so it gives beginners a chance to learn their skills without worrying about the weather. This year we ran our first female only coaching course. We need more female coaches out in the community inspiring the next generation and this is something we will look at doing annually. A project that I’m excited about is ‘Simply Social’ – friendly cricket for adult beginners. Let’s clear this up now, Simply Social will live outside of the current Cricket Leinster League, so no current team will be co-opted into the Simply Social family, but players who fulfil the criteria will be able to play both League and social cricket. The idea for Simply Social came after running some ‘Give it a Blast’ events last summer. Once these events were over, there was no obvious ‘what’s next’ for the people who had attended the events and I realised there was a hole in the market for adult, female beginners. Once they gave cricket a go, there was really nowhere for them to go where they could continue on their journey because once they join a team, it’s a steep learning curve that turns a lot of them off cricket. Simply Social will be pairs cricket with a soft ball, so players can get used to the game while giving everyone an equal opportunity to try all of the different elements of the game. It will also be a social occasion and I will be encouraging teams to put an effort in when it comes to doing something after the games. We will be looking to cater for what the different teams want, so how much or how little the teams play will depend on how much they put in. This is a format that will suit clubs that are just starting out because they won’t have to commit to a full programme of games and it gives them an opportunity to build up their player base. If a club does not have enough players to fill a team, they can merge with another club. A big area of crossover when it comes to girls’ and women’s cricket is hockey, so in conjunction with Hockey Ireland, Cricket Leinster are looking to forge relationships between cricket clubs and hockey clubs for their mutual benefit. This project is still in its infancy but we already have some clubs matched up and this could be a great opportunity to keep women and girls in sport. Something that ties in well with this crossover idea is ‘Give it a Go, Girl!’ which outlines how clubs can run an open day for girls to come down to their club and try cricket out. Key to this is having a plan for how you are going to move the project forward if you do, indeed, attract girls to join your club. Training times and games should already be in place before you run your Go, Girl! event so now is the time to start planning. For the answers to any questions you might have about any or all of these initiatives or if you want to get involved or some help in the area of women’s and/or girls’s cricket, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am here to help grow the game for women in Leinster and the more people I can involve in this journey, the better chance we have of making cricket a game for all females at every level.