If you want an idea of the popularity of women’s and girls’ cricket in South Yorkshire, have a read of this.
No sooner has the regular outdoor season come to a close in September than a South Yorkshire Women & Girls Indoor Cricket League has been confirmed. It will run from October until Spring.
There are 30 clubs involved and 2 universities (Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University). The Clubs range across South Yorkshire, Derbyshire & North Nottinghamshire in a cross-county collaboration.
Sure, indoor cricket isn’t new – although it was once pockets of small men’s leagues like at Headingley or Lordswood Cricket School, Tadcaster.
The scale of this South Yorkshire Women & Girls Indoor Cricket League suggests that the momentum from a summer of more clubs starting teams and more fixtures is building.
Out of the 32 clubs/universities, seven are joining for the first time in any format (outdoor/indoor).
Meanwhile, five are joining after they have previously played in the outdoor softball leagues which is encouraging. Indeed, two of the established softball clubs will also be playing hardball league cricket for the first time.
WOW!— Dean Smith 🏏 (@deansmithYCB) September 20, 2022
The SY W&G Indoor Cricket League will start in October and will run through to early spring. With 2 formats taking place – Hardball & Softball.
We have received 5️⃣0️⃣ team entries from 32 Clubs across S.Yorks, Derbyshire & North Notts! that’s right, 5️⃣0️⃣!!! #WeGotGame pic.twitter.com/WUuM45oNVY
There are plenty of firsts for these clubs and teams whether it’s starting to play cricket for the first time, trying the game indoors or graduating to the hardball format.
Barnby Dun launched their women’s section and entered into the Softball league this year and are now joining the indoor league for the first time.
Cawthorne Cobras are another team giving indoor cricket a try; they began their ladies section in 2020 through fitness classes and have been involved in friendlies and festivals ever since.
Cuckney Rebels are members of the East Midlands Outdoor League; the Rebels return for the winter period in both hardball and softball leagues after enjoying the matches last year.
Treeton Go Greens were once two teams (Treeton Fine Legs and Go Greens), but since 2021 have merged together, playing under one banner in both the indoor league and outdoor league.
Meanwhile, Wickersley Vixens is an example of where cricket is just rocketing in demand. They started their first taster session in 2021, joined the indoor league last winter and since then fielded two teams in the outdoor league. For the 2022/23 indoor ‘season,’ the Vixens will be entering both the hardball league and 3 teams in the softball league!
Nor should we forget stalwarts like Millhouses Works – an advocate of women and girls cricket with a prominent junior girls section; they have been a part of the South Yorkshire league from the beginning across indoor and outdoor softball formats.
While the clubs across the region, aided by the Yorkshire Cricket Board, have been behind this expansion, the ladies of the University of Sheffield deserve a shoutout too.
I understand they are the organisers of the hardball side of the league (along with involvement in the BUCS league) and are inked in for teams across the winter programme.
Adam Yates is involved with newcomers Parkhead Panthers (above) who are aiming to use the indoor season as a springboard for 2023:
‘The Parkhead Panthers was started in July of this year by long-serving club member Phil Clark. Initially, six ladies turned up to training and this has grown from strength to strength, with now over 20 training on a regular basis.’
He added: ‘Their attitude to training and willingness to learn/develop their skills is amazing to see. They always play with a smile on their faces and are a credit to cricket and the club.’
Adam tells me that the Panthers have taken part in two cricket festivals (one of which they hosted) already and the plan is to continue this momentum throughout the winter and into next season.
The women’s indoor softball league is the next focus along with indoor training in preparation for the 2023 season. The aim is to enter 2 teams into the South Yorkshire women’s softball league.
From all of this, you should be getting the strong vibe of the massive appetite for cricket among women and girls. The same can also be said in other parts of Yorkshire.
In West Yorkshire, the indoor softball league for women and girls is starting in October. Parkside Sports Hall in Bradford will see the likes of Crossflatts Phoenix playing Queensbury Queens.
Meanwhile, from Whitley Hall Witches to Whiston Belles, cricket in South Yorkshire is flourishing as more women and girls take up the sport, develop their skills and find a format they enjoy.
Indoor cricket was once a very niche part of the grassroots game and while many pack their kit away in autumn, plenty more are heading indoors to start league action.
Want to know more?
Thanks to Dean Smith for his help with this article. Dean is the Yorkshire Cricket Board’s Women & Girls Club & League Development Manager (South Yorkshire).
If you’ve been inspired to start or expand women and girls cricket at your South Yorkshire cricket club (or want to find a team to play in), contact Dean via email: [email protected].
Alternatively, if your cricket club is based elsewhere in the region, there are YCB staff available to help. Explore the YCB Website for contacts and other resources.
*This is a sponsored article for Yorkshire Cricket Board through our partnership – if the mood takes you, click to read Cricket Yorkshire’s policy on sponsored content*
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