In a year during which more people than ever before took the opportunity to play cricket nationally, the game across Durham also offered more opportunities to get involved than ever before, with a record number of clubs running entry-level programmes.
Over 100,000 children took part in All Stars and Dynamos Cricket nationally, with over 3,000 children taking up the game across Durham alone.
Nearly 30% of those were girls, fuelling the growth of the female game across the county, with the number of girls’ U11 softball teams almost doubling in the 2022 summer and with women’s softball teams growing by 80%.
The junior game continued to grow and thrive across our county, as the DCB Junior League ran for its 10th season, with 70 clubs and over 250 teams taking part in the five divisions of the League.
All Stars Cricket and Dynamos Cricket
A record number of clubs delivered All Stars Cricket in 2022, introducing nearly 2,500 boys and girls aged five to eight to the game. Five new clubs delivered the eight-week programme for the first time, expanding the entry-level cricket opportunities in the county further than before.
Last season also marked the second year of Dynamos Cricket, with the countdown cricket programme being delivered in more centres than before too.
Girls accounted for over 30% of Dynamos Cricket participants and nearly 700 girls took part in All Stars Cricket, helping accelerate the growth of U11 softball girls’ cricket across the county.
Durham Cricket’s Development Department provided free cricket opportunities to over 500 children who would not have otherwise had access to the game through entry-level programmes.
By running free All Stars Cricket courses, funded by the ECB and free Dynamos Cricket Intros, funded by Sky Sports, 277 five to eight-year-old children and over 130 eight to 11-year-olds got to play the game for the first time.
Durham Cricket ran nearly 30 programmes across the summer in underprivileged areas and engaged children who might not have ordinarily had access to cricket for a variety of reasons.
Women’s and Girls’ Cricket
The 2022 season brough success to the female game across all levels of the game – from the Warriors getting to national finals to the strongest growth for U11 girls’ cricket, the summer was an exceptional one for the development and growth of girls’ and women’s cricket.
The most monumental event was one for the U18 North East Warriors – joint Durham Cricket and Northumberland Cricket Board side – as the squad earned the third place in the ECB Royal London U18 Girls’ County Cup.
In the lead-up to reaching national finals, the squad won their quarter-final at Seat Unique Riverside – a brilliant experience for the players in a game raising the profile of the team.
The girls’ county squads also followed suit and produced the most accomplished season in the past five years for the entire female pathway – from Under-11 County Girls to the North East Warriors Senior Women.
All girls’ age groups were comfortably competing and winning against some of the bigger counties in the country with much larger talent pools.
At recreational level, the 2022 summer marked the most impactful year for girls’ and women’s league cricket in Durham, with more fixtures played than ever before and significant growth of U11 girls’ teams and softball women’s teams.
The season was a record-breaking one for women’s softball teams – with 9 teams taking part, these were the best participation numbers the League has ever had, an almost 50% increase from last year.
The number of girls’ U11 softball teams almost doubled, with more fixtures than ever before being played across the summer.
The 2022 season marked a decade in which the DCB Junior League has been providing a platform for junior teams to play regular cricket in a consistent structure.
In its 10 complete season, the league saw 70 clubs participate, with 264 teams playing across five regionalised divisions.
Durham Cricket’s Interleague Competition was aligned to the DCB Junior League for the first season, with representative teams made up of the best players of each Junior League division.
In a bid to better showcase club cricket through the Interleague Competition, players wore their club kit for fixtures, making the days a fantastic festival of local recreational cricket, showcasing its best players.
For another year, the initiative gave players the chance to play cricket at a higher level and to be observed and considered for selection into Durham’s County Age Group Squads by county coaches.
Visually Impaired Cricket
Durham Cricket’s Visually Impaired team completed another excellent season, during which players improved both individually and as a team throughout the summer.
They developed excellent teamwork and established a very close-knit group, which showed on the pitch.
Although the team didn’t reach their aspiration of retaining the title of League winners in the BCEW North Regional League for a third season running, they had an excellent summer, during which they played two home games and competed well against tough opposition.
Our work in schools
For another year, alongside Chance to Shine and ECB, Durham Cricket delivered free cricket opportunities in 120 schools across the county.
The Development Department supported clubs with delivery in their local schools, aiming to introduce pupils to the game and offer children transition routes through entry-level national programmes.
Durham Cricket also delivered 354 hours of schools’ cricket festivals, offering and running competitive opportunities for primary and secondary schools across the county.
Over 3,000 pupils took part in over 50 festivals across the county, as we returned to a packed schedule of festivals after a couple of years with a more limited schools competition programme due to the pandemic.
A significant moment in the season was the national trophy which our delivery partners Young Asian Voices and their girls’ team from Thornhill Academy claimed at the Chance to Shine Girls’ Street Cricket Finals at the Home of Cricket.
Our work in the community
Our successful partnership with Young Asian Voices (YAV), a multicultural youth and community organisation in Sunderland, resulted in a significant growth of community cricket offerings across the city, which remove barriers to participations for ethnic minorities and offer free opportunities to play and compete.
Since launching Chance to Shine Street four years ago, our partnership has grown immensely and now boasts playing, competitive and volunteer cricket opportunities; impactful relationships with local schools, the formation of an Under-9, Under-11 and girls’ only teams, as well as regular training all year round and participation in the DCB Junior League.
In 2022, we relaunched two disability hubs, offering free cricket opportunities in Sunderland and South Tyneside, through our partnership project with the Lord’s Taverners – Super 1.
By creating community cricket hubs, the programme gives young people with a disability an opportunity to play regular, competitive cricket.
Alongside the Lord’s Taverners, we also continued to deliver our successful Wicketz project in the Hartlepool area, which breaks down barriers to participation for young people living in areas of deprivation.
Through sustainable community cricket hubs, the initiative provides year-round weekly cricket sessions with a focus on developing crucial life skills, creating stronger communities and enabling brighter futures for those taking part.