Worcestershire Cricket Board Limited are staging a series of women’s softball festivals throughout the county during the summer of 2019 – with the aim of attracting 1,000 new people to the game.

Two of the festivals will be held at Blackfinch New Road on June 9 and August 4 with another 10 being hosted by local clubs in Worcestershire from May through to September – including a UK first floodlit festival.

Teams consist of six to eight players but anyone turning up by themselves will be found a team in events where the accent is on having fun but with the opportunity to progress and play cricket if anyone gets hooked on the game.

New WCBL Women’s and Girls’ Club Development Officer, Jess Ward, will be collating the softball events.

She said: “We’ve got 10 festivals across Worcestershire hosted by 10 clubs and on top of that we’ve got two mega festivals which will be at Blackfinch New Road.

“The first one of those is on the day of the England Women’s International against the West Indies (June 9) and the second will be on August 4 which is when the Worcestershire Rapids take on Leicestershire Foxes.

“The Soft Ball Festivals will be held on the Kings School playing fields and, when they are finished, those taking part will have the opportunity to watch the games at Blackfinch New Road and enjoy some food and drinks.

“What is the Idea of softball cricket? A lot of stigma around cricket is that it is male based and this is a way of encouraging women to come along and have a go.

“Last summer 670 women throughout the county played softball cricket and this year we are looking for over 1,000 women to be playing.

“The rules are very straightforward and it’s an opportunity to come along and have a go, plus have some drink, food and enjoy music. They are friendly and social events.

“It is a way of initially getting women involved and hopefully they will graduate into cricket.

“We have seen two teams enter the Women’s Development Cricket League in 2019 who started off by playing at Softball Cricket Festivals

“We have seen progression, and there is the opportunity, but it is initially about coming along and having a go. It is family orientated.”

Jess Ward added: “For the club festivals, the cost will be £3 per participant but the ones being held at New Road will be completely free.

“All the kit is provided, bats, balls, to borrow to play the game. If someone hasn’t got kit, they will get a T-shirt to play in as well.”

In addition to the two festivals at Blackfinch New Road, the other festival dates, venues and starting times are:

May 5 – Stourbridge CC – 9am

May 19 – Old Elizabethans CC – 9am

June 2 – Bewdley CC – 2pm

June 30 – Kidderminster CC – 2pm

July 14 – Redditch CC – 10.15am

July 21 – Astwood Bank CC – 9am

August 16 – Old Halesonians CC (Floodlit Festival) – 7pm

August 25 – Five Ways OEs CC – 1pm

August 25 – Pedmore CC – 1pm

September 8 – Romsley and Hunnington CC – 9.30am

Anyone interested in taking part should contact Jess Ward via email at jess.ward@wccc.co.uk