You may have seen some advertising for an ECB initiative called “Get the Game on”. You can find the full range of information at getthegameon.co.uk, but the basic concept is that the game of cricket will only continue to grow at club level if everyone makes the effort to play as many of the games scheduled as possible – both at colt and adult level.
As a club, we are actually pretty good at this. We fulfil a large number of the fixtures that are set out to us by the various league and cup competitions when other clubs can struggle to do so. However, it is important that we do not think that we are immune to the issues that cricket in general faces with reduced participation and general interest.
So what can you do? The website set up above highlights 3 issues in particular that can affect cricket participation.
1 – Availability
Because if you don’t have 11 players, Del Boy has to bat at 10.
There are two separate issues here. On a Saturday, we have very rarely (perhaps twice in the last 15 years or so) had to cancel a game because of availability. However, this is often because of the work of the captains and the team sec before them that have to spend their week rounding up players. This can be made simpler if you as players just put in your availability on this website maybe 10 days before the game - all you need to do is login, then go to the availability/selection dropdown from your name at the top of the page.
Everyone understands that plans can change, but doing it this early saves the captains (and Mark Doran in particular) the hassle of worrying about where they are going to find 44 players from. Everyone from U13 upwards is eligible for selection for adult cricket.
If you are a youngster that wants to play, but think you wont get selected PUT YOUR NAME DOWN anyway. If you do so for a few weeks, you will get a chance – promise!
If you are an adult that can only play 4 or 5 games a season, put yourself down for those weeks and put yourself as unavailable for the others – not only will you not get bugged on the weeks you can’t play, you have a better chance of being selected on the weeks that you can.
The second issue is the general availability for Sunday and to a lesser extent T20 cricket. We still don’t know how popular Sunday cricket is because we have no idea who is and isn’t available – so many times, we will have 3 available on a Tuesday night yet still end up cobbling 11 together by Sunday. Particularly if you are an U13-U16, if you fancy a game of cricket in a more relaxed atmosphere PUT YOUR NAME DOWN – unless it’s a village cup week, more often than not you will get a game and in this game you will have the opportunity to at the very least bat or bowl, if not both.
IN SIMPLE TERMS – However young or old you are, put your availability down every week whether or not you can play
2 – Weather
Nobody expects you to hold back the rain/sleet/snow, but there are some things that everyone can do.
I’m not sure how widely known this is, but the club has some pretty decent covers and water removal equipment for both squares, both of which have been upgraded for 2016. Some things to consider:
Games are far more likely to get played if the covers are put on before it rains
The covers will not go on unless someone puts them on
The water will not be removed from the covers unless someone takes it off
You can probably see where I am going with this….
If it looks like your adult or colts game could be affected by the weather, put the cover on! If you aren’t sure how, there are dozens of people at the club that know what to do and when best to do it so just ask!
3 – Getting the ground ready
We are incredibly lucky here - with the facilities that we have available, this does not affect our ability to get a game on. For some clubs, there is quite literally hours of work that needs to be done before a game to get the ground ready – we can pretty much host a game at the drop of a hat. Our second pitch is the envy of a lot of teams, let alone the League XI hosting main square.
The best way we can keep these facilities to a high standard is for everyone to take on a little bit. The BCC guide to Ground Duty is also available, but in more general terms anyone at the club can empty a bin, anyone at the club can pick up an empty can on the outfield and anyone at the club can put the balls away after training. Every now and then, make sure you are that anyone!