Junior recreational cricket in Worcestershire is definitely booming – with 70 new teams entering the competitions organised by the Worcestershire Cricket Board Ltd for the 2016 season.
A record number of 420 sides – a rise from last year's figure of 350 – will be participating in the various age groups from Under-8s all the way through to Under-17 level.
It is another indication that cricket at the grassroots level is in a healthy position inside the county.
But the importance to Worcestershire CCC of such a promising outlook should not be overlooked and the likes of skipper Daryl Mitchell and Brett D'Oliveira progressed through the various age groups to their current position with the County.
Teams, which can comprise of six, eight, 10 or the full compliment of 11 players, will take part in North, Central and South Divisions.
The Under-8s is a new age-group in force from this year and 20 plus teams have entered that competition while there is also a newly formed Under-16s 40 overs league.
Worcestershire Cricket Board cricket development officer, Ryan D'Oliveira said: "Junior cricket is very much on the up in Worcestershire. It is really booming.
"To have another 70 teams enter the competitions we supply, organise and administer for clubs to enter is really encouraging.
"There is seniors cricket, which the respective leagues organise, and we basically organise all the junior leagues for Under-8s all the way up to Under-19s.
"The decision was made to bring in the Under-8s competition and that is proving popular with teams and it is encouraging to bring people into the game from a younger age."
Worcestershire Cricket Board Cricket Development Director Tom Hill said: "The surge in interest is credit to the hard work of Ryan (D'Oliveira), Stuart Lampitt, Derek Russell and the competitions committee as well as testament to all the clubs, coaches and volunteers out there who make it work for their players.
"They are the ones giving these kids a number of opportunities to enjoy a game that can provide so much. This year there will probably be 5,000 young cricketers playing cricket regularly across the county which is more than we've had before.
"The recreational side is important as the lifeblood of the game, but it does have the important spin-off of producing players for the county.
"Certainly you think of people like Mitch and Brett, they all started in Under-9s, Under-10s, Under-11s so this is a real hotbed for the future of the club and the future of cricket in the county."
Hill added: "This year all the Under-9 to Under-13 competitions will be played on Sunday mornings which means makes it more accessible for families.
"So instead of having to travel across the county to try and get to a game at 6pm on a work day, this schedule makes it a lot easier for them.
"Helping them to slot cricket into their busy family schedules should hopefully make it easier for clubs to find volunteers who are able to commit."
Hill also believes the flourishing junior game is an ideal platform for would be sponsors, with great exposure within clubs, young cricketers and families ,all associated with young people learning, developing and having fun.
For more information on how to get involved please contact Tom.Hill@wccc.co.uk