Winton Cricket Club

Winton cricket club’s youth coach has given a cautious welcome to Rishi Sunak’s pledge to invest £35m in grass roots cricket.

Nick Bellingham, who looks after some of the youth teams at the club, said it was important to get children started early and the government’s plan might not be as effective as he would like.

The investment includes 16 new cricket domes in cities hosting the Women’s T20 World Cup in 2026 and Men’s T20 World Cup in 2030.

But the overall aim is to get the sport played more commonly amongst primary, secondary and special education schools. The scheme is aiming to reach 900,000 young people.

Mr Bellingham said: “If you want to be serious about wanting people to play cricket then we have to help them, especially now with everything else that’s going on, you know, with the cost of living, with energy and food prices and all this stuff.

“People aren’t going to prioritise buying a new pair of pads or a cricket bat for the child to go play cricket. It’s not it’s not a priority, understandably.”

Link to audio interview

Mr Bellingham touched upon what he thinks are the most important parts of the game to invest in: “When you start moving into the older age groups that play with the hard ball, you start playing with proper pads, helmet, proper bat, gloves, all that stuff comes in, and then it starts getting more expensive.

So if they aim towards that age group, the hardball cricket age group, that would help.

“We as a club will always try, certainly with the juniors maybe not the seniors, but as kids get taller, they outgrow their pads, they outgrow their helmet, they outgrow the bats. So a lot of them donate them to the club.

“We’ll keep them, we’ll tidy them up put a new grip on it. But generally, we will try and reuse old equipment for new people who are just coming in.”

This is an example of why the government’s pledge of 2,500 pieces of equipment to all schools involved in the programme is very important.

Club captain Mike Seenan in an earlier conversation said how important it is to engage young people at an early age, to keep them at the club.

He said: “One of the problems I’ve had over the last few years I’ve had is that many young players come through and life takes over, they move away or abroad.”

If you want to get involved or know anyone who might, follow this link for more information.



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