Under-19 club cricketers prepare for T20 fever!

Wednesday 28th May 2014

ECB is set to launch a brand new Twenty20 competition for teenagers later this month as part of its wider efforts to boost participation and keep more youngsters in the recreational game.

The NatWest U19 Club T20 competition will be piloted in Durham, Kent, Surrey and Yorkshire this year, and aims to improve retention rates for teenage players in club cricket and increase migration from junior to adult cricket.

The pilot project will offer 15 to 19 year olds in the four counties the chance to play the game with their friends, access volunteering opportunities and take ownership of their local club – including selecting their own team-name.

The action gets underway on Bank Holiday Monday (May 26) when Spencer Spitfires host Sunbury Chieftains in the opening fixture of the competition in Surrey. A total of 61 teams will compete in regional leagues across the four pilot counties throughout May to August, culminating in county finals and a national final at Leicestershire CCC’s Grace Road on Monday, September 1.

Much like the NatWest T20 Blast at county level, competing clubs are being encouraged to make an event of each fixture and create a vibrant match-day environment by wearing coloured kits and playing music. In addition to the match result, points will also be awarded by the opposition to the home side for their “match day experience”, and at the end of the season, the team with the most match day experience points will win tickets to the NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day (Saturday, August 23 at Edgbaston).

Former England captain and ECB’s Managing Director of Cricket Partnerships, Mike Gatting, said: “The 15 to 19 age group is a key area for the overall development of the grassroots game and our in-depth market research shows that teenagers want more playing opportunities and that clubs need to make themselves more “teen friendly”.

“This pilot project is designed to do just that, giving this age-group the cricketing experience that they want – fast lively matches, played with and against their friends, a great social atmosphere, and a chance to make their club look and feel different for one night a week.”

Speaking about the initiative Adam Hodder, Cricket Development Officer at Kent Cricket Board said “It is a great opportunity for the young cricketers of kent to take part in a excellent competition and have the opportunity to play on a county stage and test themselves against other counties.”

As part of the project, the ECB has also devised a “Stay in the Game” tool-kit which clubs can access to help reduce drop-off among players aged 15 to 19. The interactive web resource provides clubs with a range of tools to support retention through three key areas: by providing a range of opportunities to play, by recruiting young players and their parents as volunteers, and by creating the right club environment for young people.

For further information and an outline of the fixtures for the NatWest U19 Club T20 please visit: http://ecbu19clubt20.play-cricket.com/and the Stay in the Game toolkit can be accessed at: http://www.ecb.co.uk/development/club-cricket/club-support/stay-in-the-game