By CONRAD SUTCLIFFE
CASH grants of £200 are available to cricket clubs with youth sections in the North Devon area to help get games on for the rest of the season.
Youth league cricket in North Devon, in common with the rest of Devon, has been shelved for the season due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Now Government restrictions on playing cricket have been eased, it is possible to arrange games on a non-league basis throughout July and August.
The North Devon Youth Cricket Association is offering clubs with youth sections the £200 grants to help them get cricket played.
Jan Witheridge, the secretary of the NDYCA, said the grants can be spent on anything cricket related.
“We are excited to be offering grants to colts sections in clubs to assist with getting some cricket activity off the ground in these challenging times,” said Witheridge.
“We believe we have a wonderful opportunity with cricket being such a special, largely non-contact sport, to give those children who have been rather 'cooped up' through no fault of their own, a wonderful opportunity to play this great game in North Devon
“In order to qualify for the grant all clubs need to do write and tell what you will use the money for and confirm that this will be used to enhance the opportunities for youth cricket in their club. The money can be used for equipment or coaching.
“The NDYCA committee want to encourage our local clubs to get their junior sections up and running so that when we do get the go ahead to play more widely, we are up and running and ready to make the most of things.”
Andy Davies, who chairs the NDYCA, said association officials will be proactive offering member clubs the chance to play games on a local basis.
“The association, in partnership with the Devon Cricket Board, is keen to help and support our North Devon Clubs in any way we can to promote and sustain an interest in cricket over the summer period,” said Davies.
“Given that we had more teams entered in the North Devon Youth League for the 2020 season than at any time in the last five years, we do need to harness this tremendous enthusiasm and try to offer some cricket wherever possible.
“A year is a long time when you are a young player and it is imperative that we do not let our youngsters miss out on opportunities.
“Although there will be no formal league, our goal will be to be ready to play some flexible, friendly fixtures with close by clubs as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.
“To this end we need to get youngsters engaged in the game and continuing to develop their skills – not easy when most of them just want to play matches but we have found the young players really understanding of the current situation.”