It was pleasing to see that last year, the inaugural season of the Cricket Wales Cups, the decline in the number of teams entering over the previous three years of the Cricket Wales/ECB competition, was arrested with the U15s remaining the same and the U13s showing a modest increase.
It was also good to note that fewer games were called off, especially early season because teams were having difficulty getting players, as a result of the increased timescale in which to play the matches.
Competition Organiser, Ted Tipper commented, "Hopefully, the prospect of playing the Finals Days at an international arena, the SSE SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff, also proved an incentive. Well, I can tell you, if you haven't heard already, these were great successes. Players had the experience of playing on a test match ground, seeing their name in lights on the scoreboard and announced over the PA and sitting in the same chair as Joe Root in the dressing room! Parents and spectators were also treated to the Sytner Lounge where they were able to watch the cricket in armchair comfort while enjoying a drink and a snack. Even the weather didn't spoil things. It rained through the night and most of the morning on the one day but reduced-over games were started within an hour of this finishing; no other ground in the area would have been playable at all that day! Nor was the time wasted with each team and their supporters being taken on a tour of the stadium and Glamorgan CCC Museum.
"Don't take my word for this, ask anyone who was there from Cardiff, Chepstow, Gresford, Llay Welfare and Neath Cricket Clubs. Here are some comments we received: 'Boys, coaches and parents had a great day out.'; 'Excellent day that the boys will remember for years to come'; 'We were absolutely delighted with everything about both days and that they both were so enjoyable for everyone concerned'."
This year's Finals will be held on Thursday, August 4th (U15s) and Friday August 5th (U13s) at the SSE SWALEC Stadium. Cricket Wales hopes this has whetted the appetite of club coaches with the result that even more clubs will be entering this year's competition.
In 2016, each Finals Day will involve three teams in a round-robin format, one each from North Wales, South East Wales and South West Wales, playing the T20 format. Teams from Mid Wales (regrettably very low in number in recent years) will play in their nearest Region in the north or south.
Clubs have received copies of the application form and should return completed forms by email to this address: '[email protected]' (not the one used last year) by 28th February and post a hard copy with cheque (we regret we are unable to receive payment via BACS) to arrive by 14th March, to confirm your entry. Should anyone need another application form it can be downloaded from http://www.cricketwales.org.uk/documents.aspx (Cricket Wales - U13 and U15 Entry Forms).
This should make it possible to return the draw to clubs by the end of March.