Newport could soon be a centre of excellence for girls’ cricket following a new sponsorship from South Wales-based accountancy firm HSJ Accountants and match funding from the Sports Council for Wales.
The sponsorship will enable Newport Cricket Club to offer year-round coaching and match fixtures for girls aged 13 and under who are interested in pursuing the sport.
The announcement of the sponsorship follows the introduction of an all girls team at the Club at the end of 2009.
Mike Knight, Head Coach said: “This is incredibly exciting. Girls who are interested in learning to play cricket can now come to the Club for regular coaching sessions and participate in matches during the summer with other clubs in Wales thanks to the support from HSJ Accountants and the Sports Council for Wales.
“Since launching the all girls under 13 team in 2009, we’ve introduced a second girls team for under 11’s and we already have 35 girls participating regularly in the weekly coaching sessions.”
Among those taking up the sport is Jessica Thornton, aged ten who attends Bryncethin Primary School in Bridgend.
She said: “l wanted to learn how to play cricket just like my brother, but there are no other girls clubs or other organisations offering the sport within the Bridgend area. I’ve been playing now for two years and just love it.”
Thirteen-year-old Izzy Berry from Bassaleg Comprehensive School who traded in her trampoline for her cricket whites added: “I used to do trampolining in Wales squads, but I discovered I was quite good at cricket as well, so decided to focus all my attention on improving my cricket skills instead. Last year I was selected for the Wales under 13 girls team!
“I am honoured to have been chosen as captain for the under 13 team this year and would really encourage more girls to come and have a go at cricket.”
Nick Jones, Director from HSJ Accountants and a regular midweek cricket player himself at International Rectifiers said: “HSJ Accountants, via our HSJ Helps programme, is all about helping individuals and businesses access the right tools for success.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to get involved in the promotion of the sport amongst girls and we are confident that the Club will continue to deliver not only good role models for our young people, but potential sports stars as well.”
Commenting on the future of the sport Mike Knight added: “Cricket is one of those sports where technical ability and balance are far more important than whether you are a boy or a girl. Our boys’ under 13 team has won the UK Championship twice in the last five years and the girls got to the Finals of the UK Lady Taverners competition last year. I can’t wait for the girls to win the UK Championship as well.”