Pateley Bridge Cricket Club launches search for junior players to keep cricket community spirit alive
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Pateley Bridge Cricket Club (PBCC) wants to draw on fresh interest for the junior league in the run-up to the new season.
The club runs England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) junior programmes which includes All Stars 5-8 years, and Dynamos 8-11 years.
The scheme embraces mixed teams with kids from all backgrounds, with no experience necessary, and a chance for children and young people to make new friends outside of school.
Programmes promise eight weeks of jam-packed fun, activity, and skills development, while parents are encouraged to participate and support young people as they play.
The cricket ground is on Nidderdale showground surrounded by open green landscape, perfect for spectators looking ‘to take their mind off things’.
Robert Light, club secretary, has been coaching juniors for 30 years with a passion for keeping the Dales cricket community spirit alive.
Mr Light said: “It's a Friday night, everyone’s relaxed and parents can enjoy a drink at the licenced bar.
“Some have kids in each group, as there’s a big safe space to play around the grounds.
“Everyone gets an equal chance to bat and bowl.
“We’ve got plenty of girls playing, it’s a mixed game until senior level.
“Girls are just as competitive and some got into North Yorkshire.
“Things have changed so much, but it's still hard for rural areas as young adults leave for University.
“It's great for kids as it’s not in a school situation, with different ages from different backgrounds so it's good for everyone.
“Kids struggling with negative mental patterns get so much from it.
“It takes them away from troubles, screens, and renews energy while helping them to face fears and feel stronger about life.
“They take their mind off things whilst focusing on something as a team.
While playing sport is regarded as having a positive impact on physical and mental PBCC stress the importance of spectatorship, both with the kids and the community.
Mr Light said: “Spectators are a part of it, we’re so lucky here with our beautiful grounds.
“Supporting kids like this boosts their self-esteem.
“It’s important young people find ways to believe in themselves and stay healthy.
“Especially during these different times where computer screens are king.
“We also welcome youngsters who have moved into the area.
“There’s a great social life with it for both parents and kids, while being outdoors in the countryside.
“What's wonderful about Nidderdale is that people come to watch, cheering from the sidelines.
“It’s overlooked how important cricket grounds were to communities, we try to keep that spirit alive."
Harrogate Cricket Club has played a much bigger role within local cricket leagues, boosting numbers when teams become short.
“As they draw many juniors they’ve helped us loan players out to the smaller clubs like us, keeping us going,” said Mr Light.
“Because they took that responsibility we’ve got a debt of thanks to them.”
PBCC say they owe a “debt of thanks” to Harrogate Cricket Club for supporting the rural leagues.