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Cricket Ireland announce two new national participation programmes to launch in 2021

Cricket Ireland has today announced the launch of two brand new national mass participation programmes which will be available in summer 2021 across participating cricket clubs.

Following the publication of the new Cricket Ireland Strategic Plan 2021-2023  which focuses on strengthening the foundations of the sport – particularly the grassroots and female cricket – Cricket Ireland has developed a series of programmes that will provide an action-packed, fun and safe introduction to cricket for kids.

For parents and guardians looking for a non-contact and engaging summer sport for their kids – these two programmes may be exactly what you are looking for. 

Programme #1: Smash It

  • For boys and girls aged 5-9 years
  • ‘Smash It’ is all about kids being active, making friends and having fun. It is delivered over 6 – 8 sessions by Club Activators who will receive training, resources and programme clothing.
  • As part of their registration fee, participants of the programme will receive a ‘Smash It’ t-shirt, backpack, bat and ball

Programme #2: It’s Wicket!

 

  • For girls aged 9-13 years
  • ‘It’s Wicket!’ is for girls who want to be part of an inclusive community, have fun and feel empowered by playing sport. The programme introduces girls to cricket through skill-based activities and games and encourages girls to own their cricketing experience. It’s Wicket! is made up of 6 flexible sessions that Clubs can run in a format that best suits with Activator training, resources and gear and full Club Kit provided.
  • As part of their registration fee, participants will receive an It’s Wicket! t-shirt, backpack, bat and ball.

 

Cricket Ireland’s committed investment into sustainably growing the game will provide clubs with everything needed to deliver Smash It or It’s Wicket! (or both), including online Coach Education, all the equipment needed to run the programmes and a series of fun session plans. Provincial Unions will be providing on-the-ground support to clubs and delivering important face-to-face practical Coach Education. Additionally, national marketing will be provided to help recruit the next generation of players, fans and volunteers to clubs.  Cricket Ireland’s centralised registration system will ensure an integrated and consistent service across Ireland. 

While the programmes are funded at the national level and delivered at the local level, Provincial Unions will support the implementation approach, but timelines may vary according to the priorities and programmes available in each respective province.

 

Next stage

Clubs are being invited to attend an information session with Cricket Ireland and the Provincial Union Development staff to learn more about the programmes and how to deliver them in their own clubs.

Clubs can register for the online information sessions on the 19th April and 26th April: https://www.cricketireland.ie/get-involved/programmes

Registrations for participants will open on the 10th May with participating Clubs rolling out the programme from the start of July. 

Elaine Nolan, Participation Director for Cricket Ireland, said:

“We’re delighted that we are finally in a position to launch these two programmes to our clubs so that kids across Ireland can enjoy them in 2021. After a tough year for all involved in sport, it will be great to see kids activity return to the sports fields across the island.”

“Our new Strategic Plan places growth and support for our clubs at the heart of our plan to strengthen our sport and lay down firm foundations for the future. We have all been worried about holding onto our playing membership during the pandemic, so these programmes are designed to build on the great work our clubs already do in engaging proactively with their communities, but also to build the next generation of young cricketers.”

“Cricket is an incredibly engaging and fun team sport for kids, while its non-contact nature makes it ideal for young children to get involved in. These programmes are all about putting a bat and ball in the hands of more children at an earlier age. We want to make playing cricket a fun and enjoyable experience for children and give them a passion for the game to last a lifetime.”

“There are clubs across the country who already cater for this age group but for the first time Cricket Ireland is now in a position to invest in a truly national approach to kids participating in our sport  and most importantly support clubs in the areas in matters most. Participating clubs will be able to access free coach education, programme resources and branded equipment to make these a colourful and welcoming experience for kids.”

 

Ms Nolan also outlined a special focus on developing the sport for young girls:

“Our strategy also specifically focuses on growing the women’s and girls’ game, so while ‘Smash It’ is designed for both boys and girls, we have developed ‘It’s Wicket!’ exclusively for girls. Our research tells us that girls are more likely to play cricket if it’s played either in school, in the community, with people of a similar ability and with their friends.”

“We have designed these programmes based on proven junior sporting programmes not just in Ireland but also across the cricket world to deliver a consistent experience, to be easy to sign up for, to have support at local and national levels and, between both programmes, to offer multi-entry points for girls in the crucial formative years between 5 and 13 years old. Most of all, when we actually move from our online world to be outside playing with friends again, the programmes will be fun!”

 

Philip Smith, General Manager, Cricket Leinster said:

"Cricket Leinster welcomes the introduction of these programmes which are especially focused on the younger age categories. As always, we will be actively supporting our clubs to grow and develop youth cricket as the bedrock for increased participation and long-term sustainability. With over 800 youth players already signed up for the 2021 season in Leinster, it promises to be an exciting year."

 

Joe Moynihan, General Manager of Munster Cricket, said:

“Munster Cricket is delighted to see these programmes become available which will support our efforts to grow the game throughout Munster Region.  We look forward to working with Cricket Ireland and our clubs to make these a success and keep growing cricket in Munster.”

 

Peter McCartney, General Manager of North West Cricket Union, said:

“It’s fantastic news to be bringing both the Smash It and It’s Wicket! programmes to the North West this summer. We first launched Smash It in the North West in 2019 and it worked very well at attracting new families into the sport and clubs really embraced the new programme.”

“It’s great to see Cricket Ireland launching it nationally and their committed investment into grassroots cricket. The It’s Wicket! programme is another important addition to our girls youth structures and I’ve no doubt it will help to grow the game of cricket to females in the area. We are excited to support and work with Cricket Ireland on these two new initiatives, which have the potential to make a significant impact at all of our clubs.”