Our secondary schools told us they wanted more competitive opportunities for students. We listened to them and in 2011 introduced an under 13s hard ball tournament: ‘Chance to Compete’.
Many state schools wouldn't previously enter national or local competitions, fearing teams from private schools would embarrass them.
Now, a number of them take part in a series of regional matches played in each County, with the winner going through to a regional quarter final. The four winners of the regional finals qualify for the Finals Day in September.
Teachers praise the fast format and inclusiveness of Chance to Compete, with matches played in under an hour and all players participating. Equipment and clothing are provided to teams at both regional and national finals and our England Women Coaching Ambassadors assist teams on finals day.
Children have enjoyed an unforgettable experience, playing matches at a County Ground, under floodlights, with an announcer calling out their names as they go into bat or bowl.
This year we have produced a coaching card for teachers and coaches which includes the rules to help encourage many more schools to join the competition.
• 7 overs a side, games last no longer than 1 hour
• Played with a hard cricket ball
• Mixed teams, 8 players a side, squads of up to 10 players
• All players must bowl at least one over (one player bowls two) with the wicket keeper not allowed to bowl
• Batters retire on reaching 20 runs (but can return if everyone else is out)
• Boys must be under the age of 13 and girls under 15 as at 1 September
• County age group boy players cannot take part (County girls may be included in mixed competitions but not in girls only)