New Structure Aiming To Make Cricket More Inclusive In Hampshire

A new partnership between the Hampshire Cricket Board and Serious Cricket has been created to support increased access to cricket in Hampshire

A new partnership between the Hampshire Cricket Board and Serious Cricket has been created to support increased access to cricket in Hampshire.

The partnership sees significant change to junior cricket across the County, the Hampshire Junior Cricket Championships, which has now been reimagined to reduce the burden on volunteers, increase access and help make Junior Cricket more inclusive.

The new event, now named the Serious Cricket Hampshire Junior Championships (SCHJC), is designed to fine-tune the running of its predecessors to enhance the junior game in the county. The previous edition has existed for decades and was run by four, volunteer-led districts.

The reason we have decided to launch the Serious Cricket Hampshire Junior Championships is to bring cricket under one banner and provide consistency across the board with rules, formats and allow people to play cricket without boundaries by making sure cricket is accessible to everyone and not dependent on your postcode.

We also recognise the significant amount of hard work put in by District volunteers over a number of years and are committed to continuing the good work and building on the foundations set. The entries we have had so far have been very exciting, in 2023 we had 530 entries and so far, we have had almost 650 teams entered into the competition for 2024 so the early signs have been really positive.”

Mike Pollard, HCB Senior Cricket Development Manager

The SCHJC will be delivered by the Hampshire Cricket Board team, based out of Utilita Bowl, along with a volunteer committee comprised of some of those who served on the original districts as well other people heavily involved in junior cricket, to help maintain the quality of the competitions and bring in the proposed changes smoothly.

The primary change to the format will see the current four-district-split of the county adjusted to help leagues become more localised, reducing travel distance for the players. These new boundaries have been decided with the help of the volunteer committee who have extensive knowledge of the area, from their experience running the event previously.

Serious Cricket is a Basingstoke-based company that provide equipment for all sports, but specialising in cricket equipment and teamwear, and have agreed a three-year headline sponsorship deal for the championships.

I hope that the partnership we have launched between Serious Cricket and the Hampshire Junior Championships creates opportunities for youngsters to enjoy the game, gives them more opportunities for match play and that they get to play competitive cricket at their level, regardless of where they are situated in Hampshire.

We are excited about working with the Hampshire Cricket Board as well as the clubs and players and are going to be supplying monthly awards and prizes as part of our sponsorship.

Neil Rider, Managing Director at Serious Cricket

Southern Vipers’ Emily Windsor and Hampshire Cricket’s Felix Organ were both present at Utilita Bowl for the recent announcement of the partnership.

Grassroots cricket for women and girls has changed massively, particularly for youngsters and the opportunities they get now are phenomenal.

There are leagues across Hampshire where you can play, men’s, women’s, boy’s and girl’s so there is more cricket and the leagues are more competitive, including the competition for places up to the professional level.

Emily Windsor, Southern Vipers

Junior League Cricket helped me a lot, I think as soon as you start playing competitively and your score matters it adds a bit of pressure, but I made friends which I still have now. Most of the time in club cricket, you all live in the area and so you make friends for life.

Felix Organ, Hampshire Cricket