Hampshire are one of the leading pioneers in the development of women’s cricket and the sport’s regional popularity has risen significantly at grassroots level due to the early success of a soft ball initiative, W10.
One of the first structured women’s cricket competitions for grassroots players, W10 has driven a surge of interest in the sport since its 2015 launch and, now comprising 14 participating clubs, the programme is fully engaging with its target audience.
Primarily focused on women from cricket-playing families, W10 works in tandem with clubs’ junior nights, providing a convenient and accessible platform for anyone wanting to give the game a try for the first time, aiding their progression and enjoyment with coaching sessions, matches and tournaments.
I've really enjoyed participating in the W10 initiative and learning to play cricket, which is a new sport for me. As a result, I've become more involved and interested in the game as a whole, both within the club itself and at a national level.Susannah Denton, W10 Participant, Old Netley & Highfield CC
It's been really lovely to meet such friendly people, in both the coaches and teammates, and it has enlightened me to the sociable aspect of the game as well as developing the skills to actually play it!
The initiative encourages new players to immerse themselves in the sport through a 10-week coaching plan, leading up to a 10-over soft ball festival in which the social aspect of the structure is really brought to fore. Whether acting as a fun form of exercise, a social event or a gateway to the traditional hard ball game, W10 can be enjoyed by all.
Every participating club is supplied with 14 playing shirts embroidered with the club's crest and W10 logo, plus playing equipment including pink balls, bats, cones and black stumps, minimising cost and reinforcing identity. With the Hampshire Cricket Board providing a lead coach to work alongside a club-supplied coach, W10 really bonds local teams with the county's governing body for recreational cricket.
It’s great to see that women’s cricket is being given the time and attention it deserves. The sport has been progressing rapidly at the elite level and I think it’s really important that the grassroots game thrives too!Katie George, Hampshire Women & Southern Vipers Bowler
W10 is doing great work to spread the word in Hampshire – cricket should be accessible to everyone and we’re moving in the right direction.
The game is making bold steps at the elite level, with Hampshire Cricket one of the key drivers behind the success of the inaugural Kia Super League and the Ageas Bowl established as the home of its champions, the Southern Vipers.
The involvement of home grown talent Katie George on the Vipers' road to glory last summer was greatly encouraging for all associated with women's cricket in Hampshire, and now it's a key focus to involve as many enthusiastic women in the sport as possible, throughout the grassroots and amateur levels.
If you'd like to find out more about W10, please don't hesitate to get in touch with the Hampshire Cricket Board's Development Manager (Growth), Mike Pollard, via email at email@example.com or over the phone on 02380 475632.