Living in a Cliche
A phrase we have heard and used far too often in this day and age is, ‘it’s been a strange time’. Unfortunately, though, it’s been true for a very long time now. I never dreamed I would see times like these and I certainly didn’t think I would have my first baby in the middle of it, but that’s exactly what happened.
My time off work came at a stage in the year when people’s movements and activities were restricted, and pretty much everything I had set up for the early months while I was on leave, was cancelled. My leave went through most of the summer but it was comforting to know that in my absence, there were great coaches like Naomi Scott-Hayward, Michael Hingston and the newest member of the Cricket Leinster team, Bernard O’Mara, to continue training our girls youth squads along with exciting mentors like Gaby and Robyn Lewis.
A big focus for us for 2021 was the reintroduction of some kind of interprovincial cricket for girls and it was fantastic to see that coming to fruition. For years, Leinster teams have travelled to festivals in England at great cost, so the fact that our teams are now able to play representative cricket on the island of Ireland again is fantastic. We are already in talks with the NCU and the NWCU about next summer and have ambitious plans to expand the competitions. Watch this space!
Another area I am focusing on right now is how to get cricket into girls’ secondary schools, with a view to them entering leagues in the near future. I am piloting CricHIIT in a couple of schools and will be looking to train some Activators in the new year either from the schools themselves or outside coaches that can go into schools and clubs with this exciting new exercise programme for girls and women and make the game more accessible. I will also be looking to roll this programme out to clubs looking to start a women’s programme in 2022, so please do get in touch if this is something you think would benefit your club. This programme is ideal for beginners and would lead well into putting together a social team for 2022.
Schools cricket should start up again in 2022 and it’s an area I’m excited to see develop. We reconfigured the league structures and competition regulations ahead of the ill-fated 2020 season, so 2022 will be the first year we will see how the new structures work. There will be some soft-ball, beginners cricket at every level to encourage participation ahead of competition in the school system.
I mentioned earlier that a number of events were cancelled early in the year due to covid. One of those events was the Find a Fast Bowler competition for Girls. We were able to run it at the end of the Halloween break, instead, following some masterclasses focused on fast bowling earlier in the week. The sessions and competition were an overwhelming success and gave me food for thought about how we structure our training – sometimes a determined focus on one area can be a great way to improve it quickly.
Next competition? Find a Spin Bowler! You saw it here first. We have a serious lack of spin bowlers in Ireland and it’s something we need to remedy fast. Keep an eye out in the new year for details of that and plenty more coming from Cricket Leinster for women’s and girls cricket.
As always, people involved in schools or clubs that would like to talk about how to go about getting girls or women’s cricket started in their organisation are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org