The ECB National Playing Survey had over 35,000 current and lapsed players respond during the 2014 summer. In Somerset we had 1,224 responses which was a 244% increase on the year before.
Below are the key findings derived from the 2014 survey, coupled with the Somerset specific survey in 2013 and also two bits of ECB research (‘Stay in the Game’ and ‘When the banter is over’):
a. Social element is vital
b. Current finish times are too late
c. Integrating young players needs careful planning
d. Different formats help cater for all
- WEPL data
- Shrubbery League data
- Bristol & District League data
- North Somerset League data
- West Somerset League data
- Call to action
a) Social element is vital.
The most important factor in people playing cricket is the social element of the game, with 88% of players saying that this is important or crucial to them.
The social side of the game is not just a post match drink in the bar, it is predominantly who players play with during the match. Getting a healthy mix of demographics and friends in each side will increase players enjoyment of a game and encourage them to play more.
A vibrant, all–inclusive social calender will also help to create friendships at a cricket club that encourage people to play more.
b) Current finish times are too late.
The biggest dissatisfaction factor of cricketers in England and also Somerset is the time that their matches finish at the weekend.
In Somerset, 87% of players want to be finished by 7:30pm at the absolute latest, 64% want to be finished by 7pm.
Young players may want to socialise with friends outside of the cricket club and older players may want to head home to families. If cricket doesn’t allow them to do this because of the end time of games then players will be lost to the game.
c) Integrating young players (14-19) needs careful planning.
When playing adult cricket young people want to:
- Play fewer overs (40)
- Start and finish earlier
- Play with their friends
- Contribute to the game
d) Different formats help cater for all.
If a cricket club only offers Saturday league cricket for its players and a six hour game on a Saturday doesn’t suit a player’s needs then that player will be lost to the club and probably to cricket.
If that club also offers some midweek evening cricket. some Sunday friendly cricket and some social cricket opportunities (8-a-side or company cricket) then a club is more likely to retain players for whom Saturday cricket isn’t an option.
These formats of cricket will also get players from the local community back into the sport who may well become members and possibly Saturday players as a result.
League specific data
The following data shows what players in existing leagues say would be their perfect day's cricket.
a. WEPL 1st XI players
b. WEPL 2nd XI players
Bristol & District League
North Somerset League (Saturday players)
West Somerset League
Call to Action
The Somerset Cricket Board are working closely with senior leagues in Somerset to help them understand what players have been saying. The leagues are being pro-active in enabling change to happen but it is down to clubs to vote appropriately at AGMs to ensure that this change can occur and players can see that their voices have been heard.
Clubs also need to make sure that they listen to what players have said so that they can:
- Vote appropriately at league AGMs
- Provide alternative formats of cricket for players
- Integrate young players into senior cricket
- Secure the future of the club