Cumbria's Women's and Girl's cricket boosted thanks to return of Soft Ball Festivals

A scheme launched to support the growth of women's cricket nationally has more than trebled in size for Cumbria this summer!

Cumbria Cricket is delighted to share that their Women's and Girls Soft Ball Cricket festivals will return for a second wave of activity, which will reach even more cricket clubs and participants across the county. In 2017 six clubs hosted six festivals with the new, fun and free format of Women's and Girls Soft Ball. This year a fantastic 15 clubs will stage 28 action packed events, aiming to engage and encourage more than 450 women, age 11 and up, to experience the game.

Penny Thompson, Director of Women and Girls’ Cricket says: "We are absolutely delighted that last year's festivals were such a success! Clubs, staff, volunteers and participants came together to experience cricket in a whole new way. It is because of the success and feedback from last year that we can host even more festivals  this Summer.”

Bob Simpson, Director of Cumbria Cricket says: “Cumbria played a significant part in the success of the Soft Ball Festivals, and this year nationally the target is to encourage over 25,000 women and girls to take part! More festivals are being rolled out across the county and country, making sure as many women and girls can enjoy and have access to this fun format of cricket. And more importantly see that their local cricket club is for them too."

All events have been designed to ensure that women feel supported, relaxed and able to learn new skills in a fun and inclusive atmosphere. The festivals target women who are new to cricket and encourages them to come along and enjoy a great first experience of the game. Each festival is being developed with the focus on delivering an exceptional experience, with each club stamping its personality on the event they will be packed with entertainment including BBQs and music!

Laura Marshall, Women and Girls’ Development Officer: "Last year everyone involved was amazing! And because of the support and enthusiasm to make the Women’s and Girls Soft Ball Festivals a success, this year we are delivering even more festivals! So please spread the word and sign up to be part of this year's fun, look out for posters in your local community, ask at  your local club or follow us on Facebook, there's links to sign up for the free events there, but you can still turn up on the day. You can expect a fantastic experience! Each person seems to take something different away from the event: whether it's discovering they can play cricket, enjoying the day or wanting to take the sport further Cumbria Cricket can support that."

The programme was launched by the ECB in 2017 to celebrate its staging of the Women's Cricket World Cup. The England team's victory in the final against India, watched by a TV audience of over a million, seems to have contributed to a surge in interest and desire to get involved. The tournaments are based around six-sided games, played with a soft ball and underarm bowling - rules 'designed to be fast, fun and easy to pick up.'

The second wave of Summer festivals are being set up to run from early May to September this year, there is no dress code and all equipment will be provided. Festivals will be hosted at the following Cricket Club venues:

Barrow, Burneside,Carlisle, Cartmel, Cockermouth, Egremont, Keswick, Lindal, Millom, Netherfield , Temple Sowerby, Ulverston, Wetheral, Whitehaven and Workington.

Bob Simpson, Director of Cumbria Cricket adds: “The response from the Clubs hosting the festivals has been terrific; every Club had representatives attending the SBF activators courses enabling them to access support from ECB and ourselves to organise and coordinate the festivals to be the fantastic fun, and social events that they are. The value for Clubs running SBF is a new audience, participants and potential volunteer base increasing the Clubs worth in the community. There is no doubt that SBF and ASC has opened up a new player and volunteer base proving cricket is a brilliant family sport.”

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