Urban Plan for Cricket in Greater Crawley launched at special event at Three Bridges Cricket Club

Sussex Cricket has launched its Urban Plan for Cricket in Greater Crawley at a special event at Three Bridges Cricket Club.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 9:03 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th June 2021, 9:06 pm

The evening (Thursday, June 24) featured an All Stars Cricket session for local five- to eight- year-olds, a girls-specific session as part of a programme funded by Active Sussex and a Women’s Softball Festival.

In attendance were representatives from local cricket clubs, the local council, Active Sussex, the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Sussex Cricket.

Participants in the Women's Softball tournament

The showcase was held to celebrate the launch of a five-year plan to use cricket to build a stronger community, make a difference to the future of Crawley and embrace and celebrate the game.

Sussex Cricket will continue to work closely with Crawley Borough Council, Active Sussex the 12 cricket clubs and more than 25 schools in the area, the Crawley Development Group, the National Asian Cricket Council and the England & Wales Cricket Board to make these ambitions a reality.

To do this, Urban Plan for Cricket in Greater Crawley aims to:

- Discuss the ways in which we can improve cricketing facilities across the region, including refurbishing indoor & outdoor net facilities.

Sussex Cricket, Ifield CC, Three Bridges CC, Crawley Eagles CC, Active Sussex are all involved with the Urban Plan for Cricket

- Provide grounds equipment and machinery to help clubs to better maintain their own facilities.

- Continue to increase participation amongst all ages, genders, abilities, and backgrounds across the town.

- Engage religious groups, community partners and multi-faith organisations, to increase participation among those from minority ethnic communities.

- Create three Women & Girls Hubs with funding from Active Sussex to help increase female participation.

- Work closely with independent and council-run groups to use cricket to engage and make a difference to socially and economically deprived areas.

- Grow the existing provision for disability cricket.

The full plan is available to view here.

Gary Wallis-Tayler, Sussex Cricket’s Community Cricket Director, said: "We are delighted to be able to launch our Urban Plan for Cricket in Greater Crawley. Communities in Crawley are extremely passionate about cricket with there being high demand for people to access the game from different backgrounds, genders, ages, and abilities.

“Through this plan we are aiming to continue to grow the game and provide as many opportunities as possible for people from across the area to play the game. The plan will also enable us to help increase and improve the provision of indoor and outdoor facilities in the town and connect with local communities and key stakeholders to ensure cricket is the sport of choice across Crawley."

Amna Shafiq, Women & Girls Coordinator at Crawley Eagles CC, said: “As we all know in Crawley, cricket is the largest recreational sport in the summer and, some would say, all year round. We have more teams and players playing cricket than facilities available in the town.

“As a community we need to come together and keep encouraging more and more women and girls to get involved at all levels. I can see the coming year being a very exciting one for women’s and girls’ cricket in Crawley.

“Crawley Eagles women’s team started in 2020 and the growth from a group of women talking about cricket to a team that has over 15 regular players, participating and winning our first ever softball tournament in addition to entering this year’s league and playing at Lord’s has been a clear signal of the interest and demand for women’s and girls’ cricket in Crawley.

“We hope the Urban Plan for Cricket in Greater Crawley helps facilitate and enhance the opportunities for women and girls to play more cricket in a safe and secure environment in the town.”

Gulfraz Riaz, Chairman of the National Asian Cricket Council, said: "It is a huge positive to see the Urban Plan for Cricket in Greater Crawley being launched by Sussex Cricket. Crawley as a region remains an incredibly important cricketing area particularly for the South Asian Cricketing Community and it is encouraging that very real and meaningful plans are now in place that will help sustain and help grow cricket for the community for generations to come thus uniting the cricketing family."

Councillor Chris Mullins, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing at Crawley Borough Council, said: “We’re pleased to be involved in this exciting initiative and we’re discussing opportunities – including working with partners to improve facilities – to encourage people from all backgrounds to take up cricket.”

Greater Crawley’s plan is Sussex Cricket’s second Urban Plan for Cricket, following on from Urban Plan for Cricket in Greater Brighton which was launched earlier this month.