Balbriggan Cricket Club has come a long way in a relatively short time with plenty more to do!
Good people make good clubs and we are extremely grateful and lucky to have so many good people involved in the Brigg!
Over the past 10 years the Club has invested massively to improve the facilities and most importantly the coaching we provide to our Junior and Senior members. These improvements and our progress so far is down to the hard work and dedication of our club members, the parents who have got involved, the strength of our Club Committee along with the support of the people and Businesses of Balbriggan.
Our Club has grown massively in size, 10 years ago we had 2 senior teams and 2 Junior teams, today we have 5 Men’s Senior, 10+ Junior teams, a social Taveners team. We are extremely proud to introduce our Women’s and Girl’s section which includes 2 Adult Women’s teams, 2 Junior teams and a Women’s Social team.
So why now for women and girls cricket in Balbriggan?
Balbriggan is the youngest, fastest growing and most diverse town in Ireland with over 4500 children and 11+ schools. We have a massive catchment area and our clubhouse and ground is centrally located in Balbriggan Town Park, which is a big advantage for anyone who wants to come to the club.
The Club has been planning the introduction of a women’s and girls’ section for a number of years as part of our overall strategy to grow and provide quality cricket facilities and coaching for everyone in our community.
We kicked off our plans with the introduction of our girls section in 2019, holding regular Friday evening training sessions, and we have been so pleased to see the numbers increase significantly throughout 2020 and 2021. Our coaches Lara Maritz, Tess Maritz and Ashlee King along with our girl’s manager Lavinia McLean have been instrumental in the growth and success of the girls section to date.
It was only natural that we would introduce a women’s section now, to build on and continue this growth, providing a playing pathway for the large number of 5-14 year old girls we currently have in the club. We have a lot of talent in the club. Up and coming Teenagers such as Izzy McLean and Erin Knight, who both have huge potential and are currently involved in the Cricket Leinster girls representative programme at U13’s & U15’s level, can now stay on in their home club and play competitive Women’s cricket for Balbriggan.
We are very much a family club and cricket is a special sport, which we have seen since we introduced the girls and women’s cricket. There are not many other sports were mother and daughter, father and son, can train and play on the same team.
We are very excited about encouraging girls in Balbriggan to try out cricket, as we know teenage girls tend to drop out of sport as they get older. The last couple of years have been especially hard for young people. We receive feedback from parents on a weekly basis are telling us how beneficial cricket has been both socially and physically for their child. The introduction of a Women’s 2nd team and Social team for mothers and daughters is a key element of our plans to offer cricket for all levels, competitive and social.
Lara Maritz on joining Balbriggan:
‘Over the Summer we started working with Balbriggan Cricket Club, coaching the girls group and as time progressed it really became clear that Tess and I had a lot in common with the club as far as our passion and commitment to developing girls and women’s cricket is concerned.
We live around the corner from the club and it makes sense to throw our efforts behind the club’s ongoing work and vision to build a strong women’s section. In talking to the Cricket Committee over the last number of months it became clear to us that we share the same commitment, vision and enthusiasm for girls and women’s cricket so we want to play our part in building a strong section and a first team capable of competing in Division 1, thereby building the profile of the women’s game and setting an example for girls to follow’
‘The club is very progressive and has been excellent in taking on board our ideas to grow and build a sustainable section, where girls and women of all ages can enjoy and express themselves socially and on the field at the level of their choosing, in a top player and family oriented club. With Ashlee King having played State Cricket in Australia we’ll have a solid foundation together with home grown talent like Izzy and Erin having played in representative Leinster teams. We are really excited for the 2022 season’
What are the driving forces behind this new push for women and girls’ cricket?
Our overall vision is to become one of Ireland’s leading cricket clubs offering the highest standard of facilities and coaching for all levels of players. We want to develop and strengthen a pathway for women and girl’s to actively participate and enjoy playing cricket at Balbriggan.
We are an ambitious club and feel our women’s 1st team can play and compete at the highest levels in Leinster cricket in the 2022 season. The club now have a number of high quality players including Irish International Lara Maritz along with her sister Tess, who in her own right has proved herself as a top women’s player at the highest level in Ireland, Australian All-rounder Ashlee King and a talented group of Balbriggan youngsters.
Our long term goal is to build a sustainable women and girls section which will grow and develop year on year. We have a strong management team in place and have appointed a dedicated women’s Head Coach Chuka Uba, who is a level 2 South African coach and has been involved with the club over the past couple of years.
‘I’m really excited to take on this role and am looking forward to working as coach with the women’s section in the club. I’ve been involved with Balbriggan since moving to Ireland in 2020 and can only say good things about my time here with the Brigg. I’ve no doubt the club will put every effort into making the women’s and girls’ section a success’ says Chuka.
What are the plans for the winter sessions?
We have put a huge emphasis on winter training sessions for our women’s and girls section which started on 7th November. The first 6 sessions up until 12th December will be open training sessions and anyone interested in coming along is welcome to attend and train with the squads.
We hold Sunday training for social cricket, beginners and more experienced training split over 2 sessions and absolutely all abilities are welcome. We plan to run 17 more indoor sessions right up to the end of March 2022 in North County indoor hall before the start of the 2022 season.
Our first training session had excellent numbers with 35 Women and teenagers attending across the 2 sessions. Feedback from everyone who attended was really positive. It’s so encouraging to see everyone and in particular the new girls, women, mothers and daughters, experiencing the joy of cricket and having fun!
We are always looking for new members so please feel free to contact the club via our website www.balbriggancricketclub.com or phone 0860644238.
How are you going about attracting new members – it seems to be working!
We are shouting from the roof tops to attract new members! We’ve been in contact with local schools and groups, posted sponsored ads on our Social media channels and encouraged parents, siblings and friends of current players to get involved. It certainly has worked so far, but we would still love to see more members join us.
How important is it to have female coaches as mentors?
It’s massively important to have female coaches involved as mentors and positive role models. We are extremely lucky to have Lara, Tess and Ashlee involved with the coaching of our girls section. Our Sunday morning indoor softball camp has been an absolute hit with young kids from the area and the feedback from parents has been excellent. We are seeing 50+ kids coming back to these sessions week on week and really enjoying their cricket.
These 3 coaches play at the highest level of Women’s cricket in Ireland and will be instrumental in coaching, mentoring and providing guidance to young girls in Balbriggan as they make the journey into playing adult cricket.
Long-term goals for girls’ and women’s cricket in Balbriggan
These are exciting times for our club with the introduction of a Women’s and Girls’ section.
Our club will continue to invest heavily in facilities and coaching for all our teams and work hard to ensure that we build a solid, structured and sustainable Women’s and girls’ section.
Our Women’s and Girls’ section ties into our overall vision, that is, to become one of Ireland’s leading cricket clubs offering the highest standard of facilities and coaching for all level of players.