Date: 4th Mar 2021
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LL L&DCC WOMEN & GIRLS Sub-COMMITTEE REPORT 2020

Date: 31st December 2020

LL L&DCC WOMEN & GIRLS Sub-COMMITTEE REPORT 2020

The growth and development of Women’s and Girls’ cricket in the Liverpool Competition has been phenomenal.

Despite the circumstances it continued at pace in 2020. In place of a report on activity, the Committee is pleased to present an article produced for the month-long celebration of Women’s cricket, but not published. It is in praise of all the Clubs and Women and Girls now pursuing the game in the Comp, and Paul Bate, our Women’s and Girls Officer.

If anyone driving North on the M6 three years ago past the M62, towards the M65 junction further north, had looked both left and right, they would have seen a Women’s and Girls Cricket landscape that could not have looked more different. A glance right towards Old Trafford and the Pennines would reveal a steady increase in participation in the Women’s game, mainly the result of good work from the Women’s section at the County.

Look left to the Mersey though and with one or two exceptions, take up was patchy at best. Travel and distance issues from West to East across the County seemed to be the primary issue, together with clubs not seeing this as a great priority.

So, in concert with the Lancashire Cricket Foundation and Jen Barden, the then Lancashire Women’s and Girls Officer, the Competition’s Management Committee decided that a catalyst was urgently needed and the Comp’s 2018 ECB Premier League Memorandum of Understanding included the following:

2018 Priority Area: 12      New

To develop, enhance and promote the Women’s and Girl’s game within the Liverpool and District Cricket Competition by the creation of a new position of Women and Girls Cricket Officer and who is to join the Cricket Committee

2018 Priority Area: 13.   New

 To promote the LCF Women’s Soft Ball Cricket events organising at least one L&DCC Festival, further to promote Women’s and Girls Cricket in clubs

February 2018 saw Paul Bate, a coach working with the recently formed Women’s and Girls Cricket section at Old Xaverians Cricket Club , appointed as the Women’s and Girls Cricket Officer, a decision later acknowledged by the Committee as one of their better decisions.  Paul was initially a member of the League’s Cricket Committee and, in January 2019, his position was added to the Management Committee as a full member.

After spending the 2018 season contacting and visiting most of the 36 full member clubs to gain an understanding of current activity and future interest and after the formation of a Women’s and Girls sub-committee, a Baseline Report with proposals was approved by the Committee in September 2018.

February and March 2019 saw the first Indoor Softball event for Women and U15 Girls at the Firefit Centre in Toxteth.  10 teams took part. This was followed by the creation of a Soft ball League for both Women and Girls in May 2019 with five meets identified over the next three months. 15 teams took part.

Now with 200+ women and girls playing cricket in the Comp and competing teams from 14 clubs, a survey of all clubs was undertaken in September 2019, resulting in a full Competition Programme for 2020, including hardball, being approved in November. Underpinning all of the above is the work of the designated officer, who for the past two years has managed an agreed budget identified by the Management Committee. The postholder, Paul Bate, was presented with a special award by Paul Allott, Lancashire Director of Cricket in January 2020, recognising his work with Women and Girls cricket.

Well before all this was going on, as in most leagues throughout the country, a small number of girls had been making their own way in the game, playing alongside boys in Junior cricket, District Cricket and now in Senior cricket. The likes of Natalie Brown, Rachel Dickinson, Laura Jackson and Ellie Threlkeld all benefited from playing in their clubs as well as being included in the Girls county age group structure. All have given time to work with some of the new clubs in their recent development.  

An indoor tournament was held in February/March 2020 just prior to the restrictions from the Covid Outbreak including teams from the neighbouring Palace Shield. A surprisingly large amount of Women’s and Girls cricket has been played since then, during the 2020 Summer, including 4 soft ball tournaments and two inaugural Women’s Super 8s hardball inter-club competitions. 

In addition and importantly, the clubs have organised a significant number of matches and events amongst themselves and perhaps even more of note, clubs and teams from the West have been travelling to the East to play matches and take part in competitions. The landscape is promising with 16 clubs** now with established sections and more clubs set to join in when circumstances allow. Whatever the future holds, the Women and Girls across Merseyside and beyond will be ready to embrace it.

John Williams

Chairman Love Lane Liverpool and District Cricket Competition.

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