Cricket Scotland taking great leaps in women's cricket
Women's cricket is taking a step in the right direction as it continues to develop and grow in 2012, most recently with the integrated ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
This month's ICC World Twenty20 final between England and Australia was a prime example of why the women's game could be such a hit with audiences, a last ball finish and the players playing with such intensity it no longer languishes in the background.
The ICC Europe Regional Support programme in partnership with selected European members is making significant developments to grow the Women and Girls game. In 2012, 18 European Members were supported by the Regional Support Programme, all projects had a Women and Girls section with a collective aim to increase participation and 'Build a Player Base'. In relation to actual participation numbers the overall target for the Women and Girls game in Europe was 3207 new players. Currently there are 41,000 women involved in cricket who are helping to build a bigger, better game, at the moment ICC Europe are collecting and reviewing the Country Case Studies for 2012; once all the information has been collected the figures will be released next year. There are some fantastic examples of what member countries are achieving in the women's game.
Cricket Scotland's aim for 2012 was to increase the amount of girls and women playing cricket, as well as to increase the number of girls and women undertaking coaching, leadership and officiating qualifications to incorporate more development of person to coach within the female game. There has been a great partnership built up with GirlGuiding Scotland which has aimed to help develop and implement a playing programme, a training scheme for guide leaders and links with traditional cricket clubs. On the back of the previous launched National Women's Cup and Women's National league, Cricket Scotland have worked hard at increasing the number of teams playing by working with current clubs and uniformed groups.
Kari Carswell, Women's Cricket Manager for Cricket Scotland is delighted by the development of the women's game; "The partnership with Girlguiding Scotland is one that we see as crucial to developing the game in Scotland. It allows Cricket Scotland to break down many barriers and gets the message across to a lot of people in one go what the cricket is really like. Not only do the guides and brownies get a taste of cricket but also the leaders. It's always good to hear after a session that the sessions we run are not what they expected cricket to be like. We have had some success of girls going on to join local clubs that run girls and women's cricket.
"Raising the profile of the women's game is always going to be a challenge when it is in the shadow of the men's game, but playing games prior to the men's T20 semi -finals and finals at the world cup is obviously a great way to do this. On the whole the women?s game is developing with more people playing the game and more people being involved with running teams either coaching, managing, umpiring or scoring games. The grass roots development of the game is absolutely crucial to the game and this is certainly going to be a key focus in Scotland over the next 12 months or so," says Carswell.
As well as Scotland, Guernsey Cricket Board has specifically targeted Junior schools in the summer term of this year running after-school clubs and extra- curricular girls tournaments. Next year is planned to be the year for Guernsey Cricket Board to push forward with the Women's Programme and to build on the great work that has been developed this year.
Member countries that are just developing this form of the game within their programme such as Germany, where the women's game is now recognized by all in regions in Germany have either their own team or experienced their first success story are looking to build on the basic awareness that there is a women's game and try to involve as many as possible.
There is a promising outlook for the women's game and if development can be achieved at the grass root levels, then more competitive teams will no doubt be created.