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Cambridgeshire Young Cricketers aim to make access to cricket accessible to all

Cambridgeshire under-18 girls' cricket team, who will be playing at Fenners in the ECB under-18s competition in July. Picture: Fiona Kidd (48422111)
Cambridgeshire under-18 girls' cricket team, who will be playing at Fenners in the ECB under-18s competition in July. Picture: Fiona Kidd (48422111)

Cambridgeshire Young Cricketers are on a mission to open up the game to an increasing number of players across the county.

Chairman John Phelps and the CYC committee have worked tirelessly to ensure a full season of fixtures, especially after the 2020 campaign was decimated by the pandemic.

CYC is part of the Cambridgeshire Cricket Board and runs 11 teams in total, from under-10s to under-18s for boys and girls.

Led by Kevin Scully and a group of dedicated team managers, they organise coaching and competitive fixtures, the age groups take part in ECB competitions and friendly matches across the summer. They also run extensive winter coaching sessions.

“Cricket can be an expensive game and limitations on centralised funding means that CYC has to rely largely on parents to cover the costs of coaching, playing kit, etc,” said Phelps.

“Even in good times this can put a strain on families, and we want to make sure that we don’t lose enthusiastic and talented players as a result of financial pressure.

“We have always had a very supportive group of parents across all age groups, but we have also lost players as a result of financial pressures.

“To make sure that doesn’t happen, we decided to set up a hardship fund to allow us to help families who would otherwise struggle with some of the costs that come from playing cricket.

“To kick that off we approached a number of local businesses asking for their help towards the cost of playing shirts and we also asked them to make a contribution towards the hardship fund.

“We know that a lot of businesses have been struggling through the pandemic and we had no idea what reception we would get but we have been absolutely blown away by the positive response.”

Among the companies that have offered to support the CYC are Gainsborough Wealth Management, who sponsor the boys’ under-10s and girls’ under-15s; accountants CKLG, who sponsor the girls’ and boys’ under-15 teams; and Bidwells, who back the boys’ under-15s.

Ellie Reed, managing partner at CKLG, said: “Cricket is such a great learning sport for young people because to be successful you need to combine individual achievement and teamwork, and you need to learn how to win.”

CKLG’s Katie Holmes said: “The last 18 months have shown us just how important community is and we were very happy to be able to support CYC in getting our youngsters back outside and active after such a turbulent time.”

Phelps added: “We have taken some big steps forward over the last few months with the help of our sponsors, and also with the help of donations from a number of individuals with links to cricket across the county.”

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