Strathmore Cricket Club is planning to bounce back from the disruptions of 2020 with an expanded summer of sport this year to support health and isolation as much as developing skills at the crease.
In its effort to involve more people in the sport, the Forfar club has already launched sessions for women and girls, led by a female coach.
It is about to embark on a new initiative encouraging greater inclusion after being selected as a Cricket Scotland Disability Champion Club for 2021.
“We want to be a fully inclusive club” said Strathie president Craig McDonald.
“Our ambition is to have a playing offer for everyone, irrespective of their age, ability, gender or ethnicity.
“2020 was a horrible year for everyone.
“It’s important that clubs like ours do our best to help people return to some form of normality.
“Cricket is a very sociable sport, which can adapt to the needs and abilities of almost anyone.
“It has great potential to provide fun opportunities for people to re-engage with the community, get active and feel good in and about themselves.
“Our new programmes are just as much about supporting health and reducing isolation as they are about developing cricketing skills.
“But there’s no reason why they can’t do both.”
Emphasis on fun
Weekly CricHit training and soft-ball cricket activities for women and girls are already proving popular.
Player and experienced coach Emily Mackenzie is leading the session.
“The emphasis in the sessions will be firmly on fun,” said Emily.
“We want the women and girls who come along to leave every week having enjoyed the activity and the company of other women.
“We also hope that they will feel better – physically and emotionally – having spent some time exercising in the fresh air”.
The disability sessions will start on June 1 and run through the year, moving indoors at the end of the summer season.
Participants will also have the opportunity to take part in festivals and matches involving other clubs.
“There are no opportunities in the Dundee and Angus areas for people with disabilities to play and enjoy cricket,” added Craig.
“We want to rectify that.
“Like the women and girls’ cricket, the early emphasis will be on people coming together, making friends and having fun.
“But there are opportunities for people with disabilities to progress to play competitive cricket.
“There are a number of playing pathways catering for different abilities and needs.
“Strathmore will be working with Cricket Scotland and other clubs to make sure that disability cricketers have the opportunity to progress all the way to international cricket if that’s where their ambitions lie.
Strathmore is also looking to take walking cricket to a new level, building on work from early 2020.
This will run alongside a Cricket Community Café and offer sports including cricket, rugby, netball and football.
“Strathmore see this multi-sports programme as an important initiative in its own right, but we also hope to see a walking cricket section of the club established,” added Craig.
“If there are any cricket players and enthusiasts out there who would like to re-engage with the sport or extend their playing career, we’d love to hear from them.
“Walking cricket is a new development and one which we would love to see develop.”
The club has a strong tradition in delivering coaching and playing for children and young people and is also growing that.
It already operates the All Stars programme for 5 to 8-year-olds, and has introduced Dynamos Cricket for 8 to 11-year-olds.
More than 90 children have registered for the Friday night sessions.
Craig added: “All Stars has been successful for several years, but we have never had a response like this.
“Children are obviously looking to get back out and involved as the country moves out of the Covid emergency and we’re delighted they are choosing cricket.”