The Worcestershire Cricket Board Chance to Shine and schools programme is flourishing with more than 8,000 children introduced to the game for the first time during 2016-2017.

This increase boosts the number of children given their first taste of cricket under the scheme to 24,193 in just three years.

It leaves the Cricket Board still on target to achieve their goal of attracting 40,000 young people to cricket by 2020 as they strive to win “the battle of the playground.”

Thirty three new schools were also involved in cricket during the latest 12 month period.

The plan is to buck the national trend with statistics showing that only two per cent of children aged five to eight choose cricket as their favourite sport.

Cricket Development Director Tom Hill confirmed: “In terms of the number of children introduced to cricket in Worcestershire, we have aspirations to get 40,000 excited about cricket by 2020 with the intention of cricket becoming the number one challenger sport across the county.

“We are well on track with 24,193 children introduced on school playgrounds in just three years.

“Just over 8,000 new kids were introduced to cricket this year in the school and community setting where our coaches will go out and deliver quality coaching sessions to really excite them and get them interested in cricket.

“We know from national stats that at the moment only two per cent of kids aged between five and eight choose cricket as their favourite sport.

“We are really trying to address that balance by providing great first experiences of cricket.”

Hill added: “We have just appointed a new team of community coaches that are currently going out there to support teachers and schools use cricket across the curriculum.

“A lot of our foundations are laid this time of year.

“What we are trying to do is make sure cricket wins the battle of the playground – and help teachers in the classroom as well because we know it can have a big impact on schools, teachers and more importantly students.

“Chance To Shine now provide an excellent on-line teacher resource service which provides teachers with lesson plans, different drills, information so teachers can deliver when we are not there.

“The great news is, whilst we know every kid is not going to choose cricket, the broader we can build the base, the more kids will get signed up to have a lifelong passion for the game. The next Ben Cox or Joe Leach perhaps.”

For more information on where your school can get involved please contact Sam Wyles: sam.wyles@wccc.co.uk

For details on the school teacher resources please follow this link: https://www.chancetoshine.org/teaching-resources