DEVON has been among the success stories of the All Stars Cricket programme launched by the ECB last summer.

More than 37,000 kids aged five to eight took part in year one of the programme in over 1,500 centres across England and Wales.

The programme has successfully introduced new families to the game with over seven in ten of those who signed their kids up being new to their local club. Parents joined in the fun, with 70 per cent of sessions receiving parental support.

The programme is also introducing a new generation of coaches. Three-quarters (74%) of the 4,136 All Stars activators are new to the game, which equates to around 3,000 new coaches to inspire the next generation.

The facts and figures for Devon were just as impressive.

Matt Cooke, the DCB development officer who ran All Stars in Devon, said cricket among primary school-aged boys and girls flourished thanks to the programme.

“An ECB roadshow at Sandy Park in January led to 47 clubs and organisations coming forward to deliver All Stars,” said Cooke.

“These included a number of clubs that didn't already have a junior section in places, among hem Holsworthy, Ilfracombe and South Brent, as well as the OCRA Sport programme in Okehampton, where there is no cricket club at all.

“Across Devon in the region of 1,200 kids signed up to one of the centres

“We definitely got more bats and balls into kids’ hands and inspired them and their parents into a passion for cricket.”

All Stars was not a one-off for 2017. The intention is to continue running it next year.

Cooke said year two will be about building on what is already in place and getting more clubs involved.

“Our ambition is for any cricket club running any sort of junior cricket to run All Stars Cricket as the first step on the cricket pathway they offer,” said Cooke.

“For any club that wants to start a junior section, All Stars is a great starting point.”

The Devon Cricket Board will be helping clubs boost All Stars numbers by arranging taster sessions, assembly visits to schools and putting out posters and fliers where youngsters will see them in schools and youth groups.

Any new clubs that want to get involved in 2018 need to contact Cooke either by email matt.cooke@devoncricket.co.uk or by calling him on 07805 553110.