All the stars align in Wales

Conwy Cricket Club in north Wales had been struggling in recent years as numbers amongst the junior section of the club were dwindling. Keen to encourage more children to join they took part in All Stars Cricket, setting up a centre in 2018 but in the first year, they only had 10 children take part – something they knew they could improve upon given the number of schools in the area. The team at Cricket Wales took a strategic approach to support Conwy to encourage more children to join up.

Community Coach, Sam Painter worked alongside Area Manager Sue Wells to target four key schools in the area to deliver Chance to Shine sessions to the Key Stage 1 pupils. They timed the sessions in the second half of the spring term to build excitement amongst the pupils into the summer term. The response from the schools and the children was fantastic and a Kwik Cricket festival for Years 5 and 6 was also held at Conwy CC to make the pupils feel more comfortable in the environment.

The All Stars centre saw 18 children join, whilst 20 more children began to take part in the U11 sessions that the club put on to facilitate the demand. The strategic approach taken by Cricket Wales and the welcoming approach of Conwy CC has helped to reinvigorate junior club cricket in the area.

Meanwhile, at Newbridge-on-Wye Primary School in Powys, the challenges facing Cricket Wales were very different. The school had no knowledge or experience of cricket and whilst they were due to receive Chance to Shine sessions in March 2019, the teachers were sceptical when the weather turned sour. They weren’t sure if there was any value in having the sessions in their small school hall.

Unperturbed, Chance to Shine Coach Terry Dickson went ahead with the sessions and the way the children responded to the sessions blew the staff away. After the Full Schools Programme had finished, the school were very keen to continue and, using the resources on the Chance to Shine Schools’ Portal, began delivering their own sessions.

The pupils at Newbridge enjoyed the sport so much that the All Stars centre in neighbouring Builth Wells had over 70 children sign up. Concerned at being able to deal with the number of children, the centre asked two of the teaching assistants, Liz and Amanda who had championed cricket at Newbridge, to train up as All Stars Activators to help deliver the programme.

Meanwhile, with cricket taking over at Newbridge Primary, Liz and Amanda used their new coaching skills to run a full day of cricketing activities for all years as part of their ‘Wellbeing and Active Week’. Once again, the pupils loved playing the sport and many of the Key Stage 2 children who were too old to attend All Stars made the move to join the junior section at Builth Wells.

In two very different areas, the Cricket Wales team took on two very different challenges but the outcome was just the same: spreading the power of cricket to many more children and supporting the local clubs to grow and keep children playing the sport.


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