Heywood Cricket Club welcomes next generation of female cricketers

Heywood Cricket Club, on the outskirts of Rochdale, is looking forward to welcoming a new wave of young girls to their club as it prepares to host dedicated female-led sessions.

At the beginning of this year, Lancashire Cricket announced that their sponsors, Sportsbreaks.com and inspiresport, had pledged a six figure sum to develop women’s and girls’ cricket across the North West for the next three years.

The investment has allowed a new community programme to be established, which will run free sessions and provide equipment to allow girls’ to get into cricket for the first time.

Bobby Cross, acting Chair of Heywood Cricket Club said: “We want girls to enjoy playing, whether they aspire to go on and play for England or just want to get into cricket for the social side.”

The first session, held before Christmas, saw (Lancashire) Thunder and England all-rounder Kate Cross and bowler Olivia Thomas, return to their childhood club to lead the group.

Bobby said: “Heywood is an unusual club in that it’s never had a girl’s section, but it has produced top players like Kate and Olivia.”

Kate Cross, Bobby’s sister, came from a sporting family and honed her skills at Heywood before becoming the first woman to be accepted into Lancashire’s academy in 2006.

She went on to make her international debut in 2013.

Bobby said: “We’ve never been able to give them dedicated female led coaching, but the investment has allowed us to set up that section.

“Previously the girls have trained with the boys, but I think it can put off a lot of young girls from starting.”

The first session before Christmas brought in additional interest from families who had not previously engaged with the club before.

Bobby feels they will see the impact and reach of this investment when the summer months arrive and they are able to hold the sessions outdoors.

The investment has allowed Thunder, who only became full-time in 2019, to go on a pre-season training camp to Mumbai in January.

Bobby said: “Sportsbreaks.com have always supported Lancs and the women’s game in general, but they recognised that we have to grow a bigger pool of players at club level.”

The free sessions will begin on February 26th at Newhouse Academy, 5-6pm.

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