Laurelvale’s commitment to youth development has resulted in an added bonus - with ladies’ cricket now part of the village calendar.
Muckamore recently provided the opposition for a competitive debut by Laurelvale women and it is hoped to build on that early progress by expanding the roster.
The latest practice session will take place on Monday at Laurelvale, with specialist coaching open to players of all ability levels.
“Our schools’ cricket coaching sessions and fun days helped us in more ways than one,” said Colin Stewart, coach of the ladies’ squad. “The idea for a women’s team had been discussed internally for quite some time but we lacked numbers.
“However, over 20 girls under the age of 13 years old turned up for our youth sessions which, in turn, led to mothers gaining an interest in the sport.
“We have had friendly games but it was great to get out in a competitive match for the first time.
“Cricket Ireland have big plans to promote the women’s game at club level and the idea is to expand the league.
“Hopefully this will start to take off now and our numbers can grow as word spreads.
“We have had interest from some hockey players and that hand-to-eye co-ordination would naturally switch between sports.
“However, it is not about ability but about an interest in the sport and willingness to give it a go.
“Down the line we hope to start a girls’ team so practice is open to any age really.”
In an era when clubs struggle to prosper, an injection of fresh faces can lead to long-term benefits in all areas of life at Laurelvale.
“Wesley Best was a big part of our decision to revamp the youth aspect and it is about trying to move the club forward and increase numbers,” said Stewart. “The stronger those outside links can become then the better for Laurelvale overall.
“Joanne Harrison became the first female to represent Laurelvale at senior level last weekend by playing at Chambers Park for the thirds.
“We have a number of girls playing at youth level on a regular basis and it is all exciting.
“Timing and technique can come into play more than physical strength so opportunities remain at all levels of club play.”
For further information contact Stewart on 07798920629.