Sidcup CC, located right on the Bexley/Bromley border are a club with over 140 years history. They have four Saturday XI’s, the first recently promoted to division 1 of the Kent Cricket League, two Sunday sides and junior cricket for all age groups.
Like all London based Kent clubs they face stiff competition for players and members given the number of clubs in close proximity. Around 5 years ago the Club had a good junior membership of around 100 colts, fast forward to today and the club boasts over 200 junior members.
The club has been on board with the All Stars Cricket programme right from the start and I caught up with club chairman Tim Cook to find out more about how the programme has impacted the club, but first have a watch of this video…
It's here!! All Stars cricket 2019, registration open now ⭐⭐ Got a 5-7Yo who wants to have this much fun this summer? 🏏🏏 Register here for #BigMoments: https://t.co/sUH3WBQAFG pic.twitter.com/T4lgvaheFs
— Sidcup CC (@Sidcupcc) March 1, 2019
Tim, what made Sidcup CC decide to run the All Stars Cricket programme in the first place?
Ultimately the club didn’t want to miss out on a programme that the ECB were able to market with a national media campaign. The All Stars programme has the right ethos behind it – getting kids into cricket by simply having fun playing the game rather that an obsessive focus on technique.
Have there been any challenges in running the program?
For us the main challenge was a financial one. We already ran cricket sessions for 5-8’s so there was a short-term financial hit we took in order to get the programme running, but we could see the potential for the club to grow if we got it right, as well as recoup the initial loss.
We also found that the age range (5-8) was a bit wide, so we have ended up creating a new Under 9s age group at the club to help bridge the gap between the All Stars and our Under 11s.
What benefits have you seen running All Stars?
The programme has been running for several years now and is obviously bearing fruit, our junior membership went from around 100 colts 5 years ago to over 200 today. We have around 12 parent coaches/volunteers who were All Stars parents who have now joined the club to support the programme. As the All Stars programme is open to all, we have had a number of girls join the club over the past few years and are now working to establish a women and girls cricket offer at the club, led by one of our original All Stars parents, Sonya Dey, who this year got her Level 2 coaching qualification.
Do you do anything additional to enhance your All Stars programme?
Firstly we run a free week 1 for anyone to come and try it and then we also run for a little longer than the 8 weeks, normally 10 to 12 weeks depending on school holidays. At the end of the season we have a kids vs parents fun game/day that is really well attended and last year we borrowed the All Stars mascot (Twinkle) to be at one of the sessions that went down really well. We were lucky to be selected as flag bearers for a Kent vs Essex game, which was a great experience for the kids involved. Getting a bit of a buzz around All Stars on Social Media also helps to raise the profile of the club and keep people engaged with other social activities that we have going on. One of our members filmed this short video of our All Stars in action a couple of years ago. Many of the youngsters you see in action are now playing hardball in our Under 11s!
What advice would you give to a club who were unsure whether to run All Stars or not?
Just go for it! And make sure you have fun with it. It can be hugely beneficial in the long term. Parent engagement can take some effort, but again this can bear fruit with time. I would like to have got more of our older colts to join in and help run the All Stars sessions as it would be great experience for them and their energy helps create a fun environment for the younger ones.
If you’re looking for further inspiration or motivation throughout the winter, then it’s worth having a look at what else Sidcup are up to. At the moment, you can find information on their website about how they are keeping members engaged with virtual social activities and their progress with the Sport England ‘Active Together” crowdfunding project.
If you would like to know how you can get involved with All Stars Cricket, then please email Adam Hodder.