Barts and the London Cricket Club, historically has been a men’s sport, with no women having paid membership in its exuberant history. Last year we want to change this and be more inclusive of everyone studying at Barts by transitioning to mixed sport.
With global interest in cricket peaking due to the men’s and women’s cricket world cup being held in England and Wales, more and more people want to get into or rekindle their love of the game. This makes it the ideal time to branch out and engage with over 50% of the population at our university who previously could not join the club. The interest for a women’s cricket team has been ever present with members recalling multiple women enquiring about a women’s side at Freshers Fayres in previous years. A few have even played for the club in various friendly matches. These women, though really keen in joining the sport at university, were put off this opportunity due to the lack of a specific women’s team being present. We wanted to help solve this and aim to improve the student experience by increasing participation into sports clubs.
Last year BL Cricket ran its first ever taster session during This Girl Can Week to introduce women to the sport. This turned out to be very successful saw over 35 players showing interest by joining the WhatsApp group chat and 15 even buying tickets to come to this event. This session was held at the iconic cricket ground, the Kia Oval, the host to 5 World Cup matches this year. At the ground’s indoor facility, we booked 2 cricket lanes and two coach who helped to run the session. The coach, who regularly works with the women’s cricket team, was able to give a better insight into the sport and was able to work with them in developing the basics of the sport in a fun and engaging way. We hope that this would help to bring out the lifelong committed members all sports clubs desire.
Following on from the exciting oval session, we introduced bi-weekly women’s cricket training. Although this was cut short due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, we aim to continue these training session in the upcoming season. As the women side continues to grow, more training, matches and socials will follow.