Gloucestershire Cricket Board release blueprint for grass roots cricket
Clubs are at the heart of the Gloucestershire Cricket Board's new three year plan to develop grass roots cricket in the county.
The 'Raising Our Game' strategy will provide a blueprint for everything from the structure of leagues to coach education and the make-up of the Board itself.
Gloucestershire Cricket Development Manager Steve Silk said: "We have listened to the feedback of our members and created a strategy with them at the very heart of things.
"Our aim is to develop a fun and enabling environment in which more people in Gloucestershire play and are involved in cricket."
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The two main priority areas to emerge following a consultation with clubs are improving facilities and increasing adult participation.
This includes adding to the variety of cricket opportunities available by creating new formats of the game, looking at the structure of existing competitions and increasing the number of indoor leagues.
Steve said: "It's all about getting more people involved in cricket. This falls into three main categories. One is about looking at how can we keep people playing cricket and improve their experience, secondly we want to look at how we get people who have left the game to come back into it, and thirdly how can we get new people involved?
"This means looking at things like the structure of leagues, travel times and the offer we give people who want to play cricket. For some people giving up all day on a Saturday could be a barrier so we need to look at other options like twenty20s, Friday night pub cricket, developing indoor leagues or corporate six a sides."
The GCB will also continue to grow junior cricket in the county with plans for under nine's festivals in all four districts, indoor youth leagues and increasing the amount of girls' cricket.
Another area that the GCB is keen to address is facilities. With a number of clubs losing grounds in recent seasons and many indoor nets not up to standard, the board is looking at a number of different ways of improving the situation. These include the recent creation of a Facilities Action Group and the search for a funding partner for a purpose built Indoor Cricketing Centre of Excellence.
Steve said: "The dream would be to have an indoor cricketing centre of excellence in the middle of the county with the GCB based there. The idea would be to have a top of the range facility where our junior players could train that would also be the centre for coach education and high performance."
"At the moment we have some good indoor facilities but there are others that don't necessarily provide the best environment for our young players to learn and develop their cricket."
Another possible solution that the board is looking into is the creation of four cricket 'hubs' across the county where the board would work with a school or leisure centre to help make their facility the centre for cricket in that area.
Consultation with clubs in the county also revealed that they would like to see closer links with Gloucestershire County Cricket Club.
Steve said: "We are working to get more Gloucestershire second XI and academy games out around Gloucestershire instead of just being in Bristol all the time. The other things clubs want to see are players being more available as ambassadors at things like presentation evenings and more offers around tickets.
"We are currently looking at a number of ways to continue developing our partnership with the GCCC."
With the cricket landscape in the county set to continue changing at pace over the next three years the board will undergo a restructure in April 2013. This will look at staffing, funding and ensuring the GCB is aligned with the new strategy.
'Raising Our Game' has already received the backing of former England captain Mike Gatting who is now the managing director of cricket partnerships at the England and Wales Cricket Board.