With another winter of hard work by players and coaches complete across the regional cricket programme, attention now turns to towards an action packed summer ahead! Below we take a brief look at how each region is preparing with some views from our Regional Leads.
Girls Cricket (All Regions)
Pathway Lead: Aimee Rees
If you had said as recently as two years ago that we would have ten girls teams across regional cricket people might not have believed you, but that’s how quickly the girls game is growing and it is fantastic to see. Cricket Wales South, East and West will all have a fixture programme at U11, U13 & U15 with the North running a combined team across multiple age groups as their numbers continue to grow. The girls across all regions have been working incredibly hard over the winter, with some making their respective squads for the very first time this month, with many others continuing to press their case for County Age Group selection.
Perhaps the most exciting development for the girls this summer is the forming of the Aberystwyth Festival which will be played across three days in August. The festival has been a hugely significant part of the pathway journey for boys for over thirty years and so it will be brilliant for girls across all age groups to experience it themselves, in their own teams with their own peers.
Other fixture highlights sees the East take on the likes of Millfield and Wiltshire in amongst internal regional competition, the South and the West take on Monmouth School.
CAPTION: Cricket Wales South, East and West will all field U11, U13 & U15 girls teams in 2023 with the North fielding one team such is the growth of the girls game.
Cricket Wales North (CWN)
Boys Pathway Lead: Sam Painter
Overall, I would say the Winter has been a good one for the player base in North Wales. Sessions have been well received and attended throughout the winter.
We had a high technical focus through the first part of programme with more emphasis
on peer on peer practices towards its conclusion. We have these last months had the squads through for Glamorgan CAG teams and delighted to see 4 players in the Under 13’s and one cementing his place in the U14’s. We have 5 players in the U16’s squad which is a brilliant representation and should inspire all of our kids in the pathway that de-selection at one point does not represent a constant, and that if you persevere efforts may be rewarded in future selections.
Our own CWN selections are also complete with the squads look very competitive in games this summer. To all the players who’ve been part of the programme this winter – you’ve conducted yourselves in a manor you should be proud of and are a credit to your parents.
Outdoor squad sessions and prep for the season carries on in earnest through April with the fixture programme beginning 30th April and concluding at the end of August. Packed into that we have 5 teams touring South Wales all on 3-day tours; the Aberystwyth festival (which I know will be special for a number of reasons); the under 11’s play in the inaugural Brecon College 2 day festival as well as attending Ellesmere college to compete with our neighbouring counties over 3 days. The Under 12’s head to Malvern to compete for 3 days down in Worcester. The Under 13’s and 15’s will also square off with the Cheshire district sides over 4 days of solid competition. We’re very pleased with the fixture programme for all the teams we have which we feel provides balance and gives great opportunity for the kids to have challenge and success.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the coaches who deliver on the pathway in North Wales. I’m blessed to have all of you, working for us, and my thanks for your effort and your individual passion and desire to improve the players is evident to all.
CAPTION: Cricket Wales North continue their fine progress in recent years and look set to compete strongly at all age groups in 2023.
I’d like to thank all the cricket clubs who’ve offered to host us this year in 2023. The success of the thirds league and the Women & Girls league on a Sunday, means clubs are really busy. You all try and accommodate this programme whenever possible and are prepared to let these youngsters showcase their skill set on home soil. In my conclusion, I’d like to thank the players who play with spirit and commitment while always respecting your opponents and the game. To John Sneyd (who’s a legend!) – I look forward to our weekly chats around umpire appointments during the Summer in North Wales. Finally to you the parents who without the commitment and support you show to the programme and cricket in Wales none of this would happen.
Good Luck to all of you this Summer playing cricket, across all the regions and beyond. Remember first and foremost to enjoy it and if you do that chances of success will increase considerably.
Cricket Wales South
Boys Pathway Lead: Andrew Walker
We have an exciting summer season ahead after an excellent winter training programme that encompassed training at Baglan Boys and Girls club, Neath indoor and Sophia Gardens. Thanks for those facilities for the help and usage.
We start our outdoor preparation with training outdoors in April with our Lead coaches for each team taking the sessions. We have 2 Boys squads at U10, U11, U12 and U13, with now 1 extended squad at U14 with Development and Performance fixtures and 1 Performance squad at U15 for 2023. Some superb games have been scheduled with Herefordshire, Wiltshire Performance / Development home and away throughout the age groups. We have Somerset visiting our U14s for a game and an Australian regional Victoria team visiting us to play our U15s Boys. Our U14s and U15s Boys have also been invited to the Cricket Jamboree week to play against Millfield School. Our, inter-regional fixtures are always greatly anticipated by our players, and we look forward to this as a region against the West, North and East.
We continue our relationship with independent schools which offer great games against Monmouth, Cathedral, Millfield and now Christ College Brecon where we will also be at an inter-regional festival for 2 days at U11s. We are continuing our festivals at Aberystwyth for the U10s which has seen many players and parents enjoy for numerous years but will also be going to the new Girls festival with our U11s and U13 Girls squads. We have also been invited at U11 and U12 to the Suffolk festival which should be a great opportunity for our players to showcase their skills. What a summer of cricket ahead with enjoyment for players and parents alike and we look forward to seeing the development of all our players.
We have had great support of our regional clubs and look forward to playing at many of our grounds around the region, so a big thank you to them!
Highlighted games per team:
U10s at Aberystwyth 16-18 August
U11 and U13 Girls at Aberystwyth 13-15 August
U11 Performance Vs Wiltshire Performance U11(H) 13th Aug @Cowbridge
U11 Development Vs CWEast Development (H) 3rd August @Penarth
U12 Performance Vs Millfield (A) Vs Saturday 24th June 1pm
U12 Development Vs CWWest Development (H) 7th May @ Britton Ferry Town
U13 Performance Vs CWNorth (H) 24th July @Ynystawe
U13 Development Vs Wales U15 Girls 21st June
U14 Performance Vs Somerset Pathway (H) Mon 31st July @TBC
U14 Development Vs Wiltshire Dev. 14 May (H) @Penarth
U15 Vs Australian Regional (Victoria) 4th July @Cowbridge 12 start
CAPTION: CWS continue to provide strong competition across the age groups and will do so again this season.
Cricket Wales East
Boys Pathway Leads: Ian Williams & Geraint Leach
Coinciding with the advent of British Summer Time, the CWE 5-month winter programme came to a conclusion towards the end of March.
Spread across 4 venues on 4 different days of the week, over 210 boys pitted their skills against each other for places in this summer's squads. The commitment of the players and parents was exemplary, especially on the cold and, often icy or wet winter nights. The same accolade can be applied to the almost 20 coaches who ensured a wide and varied programme for players aged between 8 -15 years.
The development of the skill levels noticeably improved as the months passed particularly for those new to the Regional programme who needed to become accustomed, understandably to the intensity of the sessions, including the bleep tests, plank and press up challenges that those attending on a Thursday evening at Wicket 2 Wicket relished so much!!
We were fortunate to be assisted on the coaching front by two present (Jamie McIlroy & Alex Horton) and two former Glamorgan cricketers who imparted their knowledge and know-how to great effect across the age group span. Selection has taken place and players notified. Those disappointed will, hopefully, return to their clubs with their playing ability enhanced and eager to prove the selectors wrong.
26 players within the U12-U15 age groups have been selected for the Glamorgan / Wales County Age Group U13- U15 teams and we are sure that they will do the Region proud as the many graduates of the CWE pathway have and still do at that level. The summer will be a busy one with festivals for almost all the age groups in the CWE region – notably it will be our first visits to the renowned Barnard Castle at U13, U14 & U15 in addition to the Suffolk festival at U12 level. Those promise a significant challenge given the make-up of the opposition, as well as the chance to forge some memorable experiences.
All we need now is a dry spell, some sun and we are away to go for the 3rd season of Regional cricket in this guise.
CAPTION: The East continue to provide the majorty of County Age Group players for Wales and will look forward to a number of external festivals in 2023 as part of their fixture programme.
Cricket Wales West
Boys Pathway Lead: Andrew Walker
With winter training finished in what was great facilities at Trinity College and Neyland we have finalised our summer squads with many clubs represented across the region.
This should be an exciting summer ahead with some great fixtures and a full programme of games. Our summer teams consist of 2 Boys teams at U10s with a squad of 38 players which bodes well for the future (Team names formed by the players and coaches, where we now have U10 West Region Cleddau’s and U10 West Region Taf’s named after the rivers) and we also have 2 squads at U12 for 2023.
We then have 1 squad at U11, U14 and U15s and an extended squad at U13s where they will play both Performance and Development fixtures. We also have Girls squads at U11, U13 and U15 for the summer of 2023 with the growth of the girls’ game. We are excited about our festivals at Aberystwyth for the U10s, U11 Girls and U13 Girls squads.
We also go to Malvern with the U12 Performance team from 4th – 6th August and are at Brecon Christ College for 2 days with the U11 squad. We have some great fixtures ahead with playing against some schools early in the summer and then we play Dorset, Herefordshire, and Somerset across the age groups.
We have over 100 fixtures across our teams and look forward to a summer ahead of development, learning but more importantly enjoyment with making everlasting memories. Our clubs have been instrumental in their support, and we look forward at our teams playing across the age groups with many different clubs represented in each of our squads. We are also delighted and proud that four players will be representing Wales at CAG level between U13s & U15s with a further two at U16s & 18s level – we hope that the West continue to grow those numbers in future seasons!
Highlighted Games per team:
U10 West Cleddau’s Vs Dorset County Squad 16th July (A) @TBC
U10 West Taf’s @ Aberystwyth 16-18th August
U11 Girls Vs CWEast Girls 25th June (H) @Haverfordwest (u13 same day)
U13 Girls Vs CWEast U13 Girls 25th June (H) @Haverfordwest (U11 same day)
U11s Vs Herefordshire (H) 18th June @Llanelli
U12 Performance Vs CWSouth (H) 14th May @Llandysul
U12 Development Vs Herefordshire (A) 9th July @Pentland Gardens
U13 Performance Vs Dorset U13 (H) 27th August @TBC
U13 Development Vs CWNorth (H) 30th May @Llechryd
U14s Vs CWSouth (H) 23rd July @Kidwelly
U15s Vs Herefordshire (H) 14th May @Ammanford
U15 Girls V CWS 7th May 2xT20
CAPTION: The West have the use of some of the best facilities in the country and, coupled with their strong numbers at the younger age groups look set for a resurgent 2023 season.
CAPTION: The Aberystwyth Festival celebrates its 30th year in 2023, and will see the girls have their own three day festival separate to the boys for the first time!