by Ger Siggins
‘Give It A Blast’ is a day for young girls to come along to Leinster CC in Rathmines and sample the game, and hopefully enjoying it enough to come back again and again.
Under the slogan CRICKET4GIRLS, it has launched a nifty video on Twitter explaining why girls should play sport, and has a slick website giveitablast.com.
The open day, on Saturday April 1st from 11am to 2pm, will be fun and packed with games, challenges and inclusive activities. It is open to girls of all ages. The organisers even proclaim the day will be a ‘boy-free zone”!
The event is the brainchild of two Leinster members, Alison Crawford and Rob O’Connor.
Rob, a respected coach and Ireland selector, is passionate about female cricket: “The standard of girls’ cricket is improving, but the numbers of girls playing is not. I can see that from talking to other clubs. Girls cricket is at the bottom of the list for most club committees. They are the last item on the agenda. They are the last to get ground availability and the first to be moved to accommodate other teams.
“This is something that we decided to change in Leinster Cricket Club this season. “After years of going into local schools and spending ten weeks coaching, only to see a couple join the club, we decided to think outside the box.
“Alison and myself decided to get girls down to the club for a few hours to try out cricket. That way, they get to see the club, meet the members and play some cricket in a fun environment.
“They don’t have to sign up to a whole season, pay anything or have to try and mix with children who have been playing for years. This means you end up getting girls that have chosen to try it instead of it being part of school, meaning they will stick at it for longer.”
Alison’s family have a cricket tradition – an ancestor dismissed WG Grace when taking 5-117 for Trinity against London County, and also played for Ireland. She got involved again through her daughter, scoring and managing the Leinster CC U11 and U13 girls.
“I was frustrated that we had so few girls taking up the game”, she recalls. “I felt that most people outside of cricket circles were completely unaware that girls played cricket at all and had no idea what a great game it is. I think the combination of a team sport with individualism and the social aspect – the girls love the opportunity to chat as well as bat – is unique.
“It’s also a fantastic way for them to meet boys in a healthier setting than in the local park or at Wes!
“I found when I talked to other clubs most were also struggling to encourage girls so Rob O’Connor and I put our heads together to launch this initiative in the hope that we will get more girls from non-cricket families to take up the game.
“We obviously hope that they will join LCC but as my daughter says ‘it’ll be no good if we get 20 new U13 members if the other clubs can’t field teams’.”
Fun games on the day will include Continuous Cricket, Diamond Cricket, Cricket Leinster Cricket Factory, High Catch Challenge, Longest Hit Challenge, Bouncy Castle, and much more, while parents will be looked after with tea, coffee and cakes.
Children can come and go as they please, and stay for as long or short as they want. International and Super 3 players will be there to help out too.
It’s all free, and those that pre-register online and come along on the day will be entered for a draw for two tickets for Justin Bieber’s concert in Dublin in June.
Everyone will also go home with a cricket ball.
Sponsored by Fyffes Ireland, Morton’s Ranelagh and Joynt & Crawford Solicitors, you can register for Give It A Blast at www.giveitablast.com