‘Royd chief is ‘blown away’ by flood of juniors to club

Children playing Kwik Cricket at one of the Mytholmroyd sessions
Children playing Kwik Cricket at one of the Mytholmroyd sessions

Halifax League clubs struggling for players and lacking a junior set-up are being urged to consider following the lead of Mytholmroyd CC.

The Calder Valley club enlisted the help of the Cricket Asylum at Sowerby Bridge in an effort to get a junior section up and running again.

It produced astonishing results with almost 100 children at the first training session.

The Moderna Way club boasts a rich cricketing legacy going back well over a century and its many major trophy successes include Parish Cup wins in 2005 and 2007.

The demise of Mytholmroyd Methodists left ‘Royd with a monopoly of the village’s junior talent but in spite of this the club hasn’t had a junior side since 2012.

That led to a shortage of senior players and called for drastic action so ‘Royd elisted the help of the Cricket Asylum’s coaches and their successful ‘School 2 Club’ programme to try revive the junior section.

The Asylum’s coaches delivered taster sessions at Calder, Colden, Old Town, Hebden Royd, Midgley, Scout Road, Central Street, Riverside and Burnley Road primary schools, giving youngsters in the area a taste of what cricket can be like.

They cleared enjoyed that taste as 96 boys and girls aged from five to 11 answered the invitation to attend the first Mytholmroyd session on a Friday evening.

Mytholmroyd CC chairman Jacob Travis said: “We have been blown away by the response from the local community and the efforts of the Cricket Asylum.

“We were hopeful of getting some good numbers but to get this number of children was unbelievable.

“We will be working closely with the Cricket Asylum to plan junior cricket at Mytholmroyd CC for the next three years and beyond.”

The sessions will carry on throughout the summer with unofficial matches later to get players ready for entering the Halifax Junior League in 2019.

Phil Sharples, chairman of the Bramley’s Halifax Junior League, said other clubs in a similar predicament to Mytholmroyd should consider following their lead.

He said the initiative at ‘Royd was a tremendous success at a time when cricket was struggling to attract and retain youngsters in competition from other sports.

He said Alex Murphy was doing excellents work with the Yorkshire All Stars programme but it was important that youngsters got the message that cricket could be fun and entertaining.

Sharples said clubs relied on volunteer coaches, the vast majority of whom worked during the week. That meant sending the Cricket Asylum’s professional coaches into schools was a good option if they could afford it.

The other thing to bear in mind was that a club needed to have coaches and equipment in place if it was suddenly inundated by lots of youngsters.

The Junior League, meanwhile, is doing its best to try to encourage teenagers to make the step from junior to senior cricket with the launch of a new Zwingo-sponsored T20 competition for under 19s starting next month.