Cricket event gives London girls “safe space” to develop
The cricket competition in Harrow on 4th and 5th March gives young London based girls a way to grow their love of the sport.
The competition is formatted to be as inclusive as possible for all 190 girls. The event is held on separate days to the boys event, meaning girls do not have the additional worry of being watched by other male competitors.
The ball used is softer than the average competition cricket ball. The softball is better than a hardball for progressing players, as players find it easier to catch the ball and there’s a smaller risk of injury.
What’s more, players can choose to wear any sports clothing they feel comfortable wearing. By not enforcing girls to wear whites, this makes the sport accessible and inclusive. Wearing white can put many young girls off playing, especially if they are conscious of playing during their period. This also reduces the cost barrier to entry to having to purchase cricket whites.
Maisie, Hackney cricketer, said: “I’ve enjoyed that the competition’s rules aren’t that complicated and also not having to wear all the kit, because it’s always uncomfortable and makes you feel really hot. It’s helped me with my leadership skills definitely. It’s taught me to help people and communicate better than I ever did before.
Nat Defriend, Hackney team manager, said: “With getting into cricket, there’s no way my daughter would have got into cricket if it had been about having to catch a really hard ball, because she had to have an easier way in. This whole competition of indoor cricket has been really helpful for their confidence because they get to do something they wouldn’t usually do.”
Pinal Gandhi, Ealing team manager, said: “I know a lot of girls who have shied away from playing hardball cricket because the fear of getting hit with the ball is just too much of a barrier to overcome. So the fact that they’re playing with a wind ball, I think is fantastic. That means that more people can participate.
Maisie, Havering cricketer, said: “I feel proud to play cricket. Some people don’t think girls should play cricket, but when you achieve well, you get to show that you can do it. As the captain, it’s helped me with my leadership and it’s nice to see the team develop.
Andy Dalby-Walsh, CEO, said: “Girls play around half the amount of cricket as boys in secondary school, so this girls competition aims to challenge this. Women’s cricket is a fast-growing sport in England that benefits young girls wellbeing as well as giving them a social outlet outside of school. We’re proud to offer girls cricket events to inspire new generations to feel that cricket is for them and to push for equality in the sport.”
2022 involved record-breaking attendances at England Women’s cricket matches, showing the growing appetite for the sport, with over 50,000 watching the women play. The aspiration is that young cricketers playing in the Games develop a lifelong love of sport.