MORE than 100 young cricketers in South Devon improved their skills and enjoyed friendly competition during to a series of Kwik Cricket festivals organised by the South Devon Youth League.
The festivals were a new idea for the 2016 cricket season and run on a fortnightly basis.
Eight different clubs around the area hosted a festival during the season. Teams of six players took part in three separate short-format matches at each festival. The emphasis was on enjoyment, participation and learning through playing.
There were different, alternating themes to the festivals – under nine boys and girls; and girls teams of all ages – with anywhere between four and eight teams taking part each time.
Some clubs were able to enter up to three teams in a festival. In total eight different clubs were represented at some point during the season.
Ipplepen, Chagford and Paignton not only attended all eight dates but also hosted a festival at their home grounds.
Thanks to the league’s ongoing sponsorship from Devon law firm Wollen Michelmore, every player who took part in a festival went home with a commemorative medal.
A number of players from participating clubs were selected as players of the festival and each will collect a trophy at the league’s annual presentation night towards the end of the year.
Chris Partridge, chairman of the youth league, said: “The Kwik Cricket festivals have been a great success and a showcase for the great work happening at cricket clubs around South Devon.
“The positive attitude of coaches and inclusive atmosphere has really shone through which has benefitted all of the players taking part.
“We have had children as young as five playing, as well as a couple of mums making up numbers in a girls’ team, and lots of children getting an early opportunity to represent their clubs which can only help those players when they eventually make the transition into hardball cricket
“The success of the Kwik Cricket festivals mean that they are certain to be a feature of the South Devon cricket calendar again in 2017.”
Clive Meredith of Wollen Michelmore said over three years of supporting the league he has seen the grass roots of the game flourish.
He added: “The wonderful thing is these events are a place where families come together and everyone gets a chance to play and have fun.
“It’s fantastic to see something so positive happening for the young people of South Devon.”