Paignton U13 girls at last season's softball tourney at Exeter University

PAIGNTON are aiming to put competitive women’s cricket on the fixture list at Queens Park in the next couple of years.

The ladies’ game went from strength to strength in 2016 – on the back of the exploits of the England women’s team, the inaugural domestic Kia 20-20 Super League and increased media coverage ahead of England hosting the 2017 World Cup.

Heather Knight - the England captain from PlymouthThe England and Western Storm captain is Devon’s own Heather Knight.

Paignton already field the only girls’ teams at under-11, under-13 and under-15 level in the Torbay area.

During the summer ahead the club want to introduce more ladies to the game at a friendly level.

“Our plan is to organise a variety of softball and hardball friendly matches this season against other clubs in Devon, as well as entering local festivals,” said Nick Harman from the club.

“The club’s aim is to provide a social opportunity to play cricket as well as a chance to develop new skills and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“Our aim is to set up a regular softball social team and also a competitive hardball team to play Devon League cricket in the next couple of years.”

The David Shepherd Cricket Trust has offered a cash grant to Paignton towards set-up costs and the Devon Cricket Board is providing on-going support.

Harman said he hoped the new section would be as successful as the existing girls’ teams.

“By allocating significant coaching resources, the club already boasts league- winning youth teams and a number of girls who represent South Devon District and Devon,” he said.

Tim Ward, the former Devon all-rounder who is now Paignton chairman and a county coach, said previous cricket experience is not mandatory.

“No experience or specialist kit is necessary,” said Ward. Everyone is welcome to get involved as little or as much as they like!

 ‘We want to offer ladies and girls a fun environment to enjoy cricket – as well as enabling them to fulfil their sporting potential.”

To find out more about girls’ and ladies cricket at Paignton, drop in at Queens Park on Friday, May 12 at 6.30pm for girls’ training or 7.30pm at the launch of Wine and Wickets for a softball game and a free glass of Prosecco.  

Alternatively, contact Lois Hussey at lois.hussey@francisclark.co.uk or Harman nharman1@virginmedia.com.