Male’s sport

Women’s cricket is a recent revelation in terms of development. It has not been a very high profile game however with the aid of lottery funding and enthusiastic kids it has started to become more popular. Women’s cricket does not work the same way as men’s necessarily. They are similar in the way they are run; but the stages of progression do not follow in the same order. As the men’s game tend to go as followed: school, club, county, international; Women’s tend not to follow that pattern as cricket is played at a very different level to men. In recent years there has been a new level added – “the Super Fours” which is the last sage before England selections.

The pattern it runs as is as followed: school, club, county, and then Senior County, Super Fours and then International representation. The men’s game is more high profile with television coverage not just on sky at even county level. As Men’s cricket is well supported by fans all over the country to their own counties; it became not only as a sport but a social gathering also; which inevitable brings in more fans to support which is the aim of any team. Unfortunately the Women’s game has not quite reached this level of profile; it is gradually becoming more fan based through the years; but has a long way to go until it is equal with the Men’s.

For most girls they are introduced to cricket either in school; or growing up with older brothers; which is not a particularly consistent way to bring in young players to the new growing sport. Therefore such schemes as Kwik Cricket have been set up to try encourage young girls and boys to join together to play. This enables the girls to be introduced to the game; but also encourage equality between the girls and boys that it does not have to be stereotyped as a “male’s” sport; as on each team there has to be a minimum of two girls on the side to compete. From this girls are able to pick up a good grasp of the skills and techniques in the game that are required and are given the opportunity to see whether they like it enough to go on to the bigger “grown up” version of the game.

The next stage in the sport for girls would be secondary school. It depends what school the student goes to, to determine what involvement they will be allowed to have in the game. As most sports are very separated in school time; girls are not always given the opportunity to get involved. However there are more teachers and programmes setting up girl’s sides; even some schools have their own girl’s team and coach. This team is usually a mixture of ages right from U 18’s right down to U 11’s as there is such a short supply off people keen. Teachers will then go on to recommend Women’s clubs in the region to encourage them to play more, at weekends and go to training practices or even chose some for county trials. This is the only real way to get involved in the game at a younger age – through teachers, or through family encouragement.

Once at club the girls are able to develop the basic skills they have learned so far at school; and become stronger in skill and knowledge of the game through experience of playing games and practicing more regularly. Clubs are often set up as two main teams; this is dependant upon the size of the club however. There will be the 1stXI side which will mainly consist of older more experienced players; and then the 2ndXI who are those not quite good enough for the 1sts, yet still get to practice and improve. There are no age restrictions as far as taking part in the game; the player can be as younger or as old as they want to be; but there are rules in the game that limit them to do so much in any case. For example those under the age of sixteen can only bowl four overs in a spell and six overs in total.

It is club that really helps young people to develop there skills enough to go into county with more experience behind them. Cricket is a challenging sport with those who have not much experience; as players tend to only progress through making mistakes and learning form them. When they approach country trials they are expected to show some form of skill and knowledge of the game and how it works. However county selections are not at the same levels as Boys’ at all. As there is not much interest from girls to join county then County are left with not much choice but to select the best team they can from those available. This is not the case in all counties as some have very strong teams of all the same age groups; as others are forced to put a mixture of age groups into one side. For example a twelve year old that is good enough could be playing on all three kids sides. The way that girl’s county age groups run as are: U13’s, U15’s U17’s and U19’s.

After this most players that stand out normally around the age of seventeen are asked along to Senior Training practices, where there tends to be a large squad of players from all over the county at all different ages. From this there are 13 people that get in on the squad (these people can vary all the time) to play fixtures against counties all over England. The major even that happens for the Seniors takes place in Cambridge every year – The County Championships. This is a weeks tournament where are counties that want to take part stay in Cambridge and play one another in their own pools to then go on to a Semi-final and Final.

At this competition there are many England scouts looking out for good players; to invite along to England development squads. However in the last couple of years; things have changed quite a lot, as there seemed to be a too larger jump of standard from county to England. Therefore they invented the “Super Fours”; these players and tames are selected by England Coaches; and this is a tournament that takes place by the 48 best players in the Country. It is merely not enough for someone to be good at Senior County level, now if they are not selected for Super Fours they do not stand much chance of being selected for England.

The Women’s game along with the Men’s and many other sports are funded mainly by the lottery. Their aim is to extend access and participation, increase skill and creativity and to help communities which collectively improve the country able to give all the opportunities to take part in what they want to do.

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