Age Groups retrace Kent Cricket heritage

Tuesday 19th July 2022

In 2022, Kent Cricket is delighted to have seen some of it’s County Age Group squads train at one of the most iconic grounds in the history of the Club.

With the significant growth in women’s and girls’ cricket over recent years, alongside the consistent successes of the Kent Women, The Club is pleased to have collaborated with Belmont House and Gardens to open up an iconic cricket ground to a generation of young girls to develop as future cricketers.

Belmont Cricket Ground, situated in the 3,000 acres of The Belmont Estate, is most notable in the cricketing fraternity for being home to five generations of the Harris Family.

The house was built in 1769, and was bought in 1801 by Lieutenant General George Harris, who was created the 1st Baron Harris in 1815.

His grandson, the 3rd Lord Harris was elected the first President of Kent County Cricket Club, on its formation in 1870. The cricket ground at Belmont was created around this time, mainly through the drive and enthusiasm of the 4th Lord Harris, who was to become at various times, captain, secretary, Chair and President of Kent Cricket, and whose playing career for Kent and England stretched from 1870 to 1911, when he was 60 years old.

Many famous names have played cricket there – several overseas touring sides, most of the great Kent cricketers, as well as hundreds of keen, if less talented, club and village players over its century and a half of existence. An invitation to play on this beautiful and well-kept ground is rarely turned down.

With the growth of the girls game, the County Age Groups have introduced two Under 11 squads for the 2022 season.

After the seven week trial process, the two selected squads have trained separately (to help reduce both travel time and cost) throughout the winter, and now combine for a series of squad days during the summer. Each squad day involves a combination of team building, coaching practices and then inter-squad matches.

Reconnecting with a venue that is as beautiful and prestigious in equal measure such as Belmont House & Gardens has been a fantastic opportunity for the girls.

Speaking to Helen Fagg, our Community Cricket Manager for the Women’s and Girls’ game, as well as one of the Under 11 coaches, she shared with us that:

“It was great for the girls to feel part of Kent Cricket history and to play at such an idyllic, Kentish cricket ground. We were made to feel most welcome and look forward to continuing the partnership in future years.”

Furthermore, the girls were event set some homework based on the visit: looking up why the 4th Lord Harris was of such relevance, they discovered that he captained the Kent team and in 1878 captained the England team for a Test match that instigated the Ashes test series.

Reflecting on hosting the Kent Under 11s,  Henry Birch, Agent to the Trustees said, “We were delighted to have been able to welcome Kent Under 11 Girls to Belmont, which was a positive and enjoyable experience for us and we very much hope this can become a long-term ongoing partnership for both Belmont and Kent Cricket.”