By Carl Holding
Cricket Wales were delighted to host Dawn Bowden, MS at Swansea Bay Sports Park recently, on the occasion of the South Wales U15 girls ECB Secondary Schools tournament.
The Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport kindly took time out of her busy schedule to support and encourage the girls participating and hear more about the growth of cricket in Wales, especially among women and girls.
The Minister remarked on Welsh Government's Culture and Sport social media channels, "It's been fantastic to see so many young girls getting involved. I hope we see [...] a lot of these girls moving on and going through the cricket pathway.
"It was fantastic to see. They were really enjoying it and I really enjoyed watching it."
Nearly two thirds of cricket clubs in Wales now have an offer for female participants, with the number of teams and players continuing to rise. Sport Wales’ and Welsh Government’s own surveys in 2022 also showed that latent demand for cricket among women and girls is still high, despite the exponential growth in participation in recent years.
Participation in schools is also on the up, this year we have seen over 50 schools enter across the whole of Wales; a number that has doubled since 2021.
Our Women's and Girls' Development Officers have also been in schools recently delivering the England Wales Cricket Board (ECB)'s Girls' Secondary Schools programme - the programme is designed to provide teenage girls a chance to play cricket who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to do so - many of which will be picking up a bat for the very first time.
It has also been a great opportunity to get teachers involved - recently, we invited teachers from local schools to Sophia Gardens to deliver some sessions for them to take back to school to help with their delivery.
The U15 finals day was the second of the week, following the U13 finals day on Tuesday. Ysgol Strade (Llanelli) came out as winners, beating Greenhill School (Pembrokeshire) and will head to the South-West Finals day on Monday 24th April at The University of the West of England.
Both Finals Days featured 8 teams; 4 from South West Wales and 4 from South East Wales. The U15 finals day had the following schools
Ysgol Strade, Harri Tudur, Greenhill and Cwm Brombil (SW)
Radyr, Cathedral, Caerleon and Bassaleg (SE)
Cathedral School (Llandaff) were the U15s winners, defeating Harri Tudur in the final and will now represent Wales, again at The University of the West of England, on Tuesday 25th April - with the winners of that round going to Lord’s for the national final.
Congratulations to all teams on making the Finals and pob lwc to Cathedral School, Llandaff and Ysgol Strade in the South West & Wales Regional Finals.