Cricket is an inclusive sport, and whether you have a young child who fancies themselves as the next big thing, or you just want to dust off the whites and have a go at playing some village cricket for the first time in years, there should be a club for you.
All levels of skill should be welcome in cricket. Many village cricket clubs are as much about the social aspects of playing as the sport itself, so you don’t have to worry about how good you are. Even if you’ve never even played before, plenty of cricket clubs will be happy to have you involved.
For those who want to take things a little more seriously (especially young players) there are chances to do this, too. There are regional junior pathways and even country trials that young players can get involved in if they have the talent.
Use the ECB’s “Find a Club” Feature
This is probably the best approach to use as the first port of call. It isn’t perfect, and doesn’t necessarily list every village club. However, the ECB website has a brilliant section for finding a club to play for.
Here, you can simply enter your postcode and how far you would be willing to travel to play, and you’ll be met with a variety of different options. In a big city, it is likely that you’ll find cricket clubs in the double figures, giving you plenty of options.
A lot of cricket clubs split their teams into reserves, and even third and fourth teams, and organise matches for these backup teams, so even if the club itself has players you couldn’t dream of getting selected ahead of, you may still get a game.
There is one small issue with the ECB system. Once you find a club, there is a form on the site to fill in, and your details are sent to the relevant person at the club. However, club details change, captains change, people leave their positions and forget to update their details. It’s possible you won’t hear anything back, even if the team has a place for you at their next training session.
This means you might have to do some more digging…
Google is Your Friend
Yes, we know, it is pretty obvious, but Google can be the perfect way to find a local cricket club, if they have a web presence.
Even just heading to your maps app and searching the term “cricket club” may bring up a variety of options. Be warned though, you might get laughed at if one of those options is a professional team and you call up offering to bowl a bit of slow left arm.
Googling the name of the town or the village you live in and “cricket club” is another option, and searching for other clubs in the area can bring back results, too.
The problem with this is that a lot of cricket clubs do have some form of website, but it isn’t necessarily checked often, and finding the person to speak to isn’t always easy.
Check Local Social Media Messageboards and Groups
If you use social media, then you’ll know what a powerful tool it can be for finding just about anything.
You can put out a post asking if any friends know of somewhere you can start playing cricket, but messageboards and groups are a better way of finding out what is happening locally.
Facebook groups are an amazing resource, and most towns and areas tend to have multiple groups for buying, selling, and advertising, as well as just bringing the community together.
Often, all it will take is a simple post on one of these sites asking if anyone knows of a cricket team that is looking for new players. Even though it isn’t always easy to find a local cricket club to join, once you find the right people to speak to you will often find that they are actually very keen to have new players. Village teams need big squads in order to field an 11 on the weekends.
Local Community Centres and Sports Halls
The old fashioned method of looking in person. A lot of sports halls and community centres will be a great place to look for a noticeboard, and on these noticeboards you might just find some local sports teams, with details of who to contact.
If you’re still struggling after using the above methods, it is worth dropping in, and even asking around while you are there.
If you know that the sports hall or community centre has cricket nets or batting facilities then even better, there is a good chance that the local clubs practice there.
Private Training and Coaching
Perhaps you want to brush up on your skills first?
A lot of private coaches operate in all areas of the UK, providing school activities, after-school training, and adult 1-to-1 training.
If you want to grow and become better at the sport then this could be an option, and it can even get you involved in club cricket. There is a strong chance that the private coach will have a good knowledge of cricket in the area, and the sorts of teams that are looking for players and would be appropriate for your skill level.
Of course, private coaching comes at a cost, but it can also be a good way to ensure you get up to a better standard before you go and play with a group.
Play-cricket.com is another website that can prove to be a very useful resource for those who want to get into cricket.
This is where a lot of statistics and fixtures are stored, and local cricket clubs use this as a central hub for their information. In fact, once you join a cricket club this is where you might well be directed to see who you’re playing next week.
A lot of the pages on this site are pretty up-to-date, so if you search the local area for a cricket club, or for a tournament that you might want to get involved in, there will be results that are active and show you someone you can actually contact.
Finding Local Cricket Clubs for Juniors
For young players, we generally believe that getting them involved with some form of ECB training as early as possible is the best bet.
This gets them quality training, but it also ensures that you find access to supported programmes such as summer camps that are funded and run by the ECB, who have a constant drive to try and recruit young people to get them to play the sport.
Getting youngsters into cricket can also be easier due to the fact that they may already be playing at school. School teams often have connections with local clubs, and this can be a route to follow to start playing outside of school time.
The ECB’s junior programmes include:
All Stars Cricket, “providing children aged five to eight across England and Wales with a great first experience in the game”. These are eight-week tester programmes that give children a taste of the game, a chance to make new friends, and even introductions to the cricket scene around your local area.
Dynamos Cricket, designed for 8-11 year olds, “Dynamos will provide children with a more social offer, focused on developing fundamental movement skills and applying them in an exciting game of countdown cricket.”
You can search the site for local places offering the chance to get involved with either of these programmes.
Involving your children in club cricket means that if they are good enough, the scouts will likely find them and offer trials for county cricket. Many counties have teams at a lot of different age groups. You can’t really volunteer your child to play at these, but if they want to, and they are good enough, club cricket or ECB training groups can be a route in.
Summary: Finding a Local Cricket Club
The village cricket scene is still alive and well in the UK. In fact, there are 7,000 amateur clubs recorded across the country. For a relatively small country, that means a lot of opportunities to get involved.
The ECB’s information on finding a club is fantastic, but it can sometimes take a bit of searching and asking around to actually find the right person to talk to. Once you do find them, it is time to knock in your cricket bat, get the whites in the wash, and prepare yourself for your first training session.