The first ever all-girls cricket club in Barbados will be launched in December 2023 under the name Barbados Girls Cricket Club.
Club director Roland Butcher, in an exclusive interview with Nation Sports, said the club aimed to bridge the gap in local women’s cricket development within a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment.
“This is an important thing at this juncture, not just for Barbados Cricket, but West Indies Cricket on a whole,” said Butcher who is also a selector on the West Indies Senior Men’s and Youth Panels.
“I think the way women’s cricket has developed over the last few years on a global scale has shown that it is on an upward curve and that is due to continue. In Barbados we have been a little bit slow in really embracing the women’s game and I believe that a lot more emphasis has to be placed on developing women’s cricket so that for one we can develop the sort of players that can be competitive in the world game but then also make West Indies a force in the women’s game internationally.”
Pointing out this club was a small step in helping that process, he added that it also aimed to provide opportunities for personal growth and community engagement.
“The whole idea is to present the game of cricket to girls, irrespective of their colour, class or creed; everyone can come down and play. There will be coaches in place to ensure they are taught correctly so that they can have fun and be healthy and make sure they are not sitting at home.
“There are many objectives for this club, but the main one is to provide the girls a space where they can come out and be a part of the family so to speak and play the game. In many ways, this is a small thing for me to give back to Barbados.”
The initiative is backed by Bat for A Chance charity from the United Kingdom, founded by a then 15-year-old Will Gaffney, who worked in numerous countries across the world, most notably in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa and previously donated cricket equipment in Barbados.
In January 2022, the charity teamed up with sponsors Energy, Virgin Atlantic and global freight and supply chain experts, The Woodland Group, to donate gear to Springer Memorial Secondary Girls School, Christ Church Girls’ Primary School and to the University of the West Indies Female Cricket Team.
The formation of this new cricket club “is the next phase in that plan”, according to Butcher.
“This will ensure that we now put in place a coaching structure so that girls can come and feel safe playing cricket and if they want to go further with their cricket, they can. We’ve got some good support locally and the coaches are all excited. An important factor of this is that we’re going to ensure that the club really is run primarily by women for women.”
The club, who will play at Passage Road, will specialise in four age groups: 6-8 years old, 8-10 years old, 10-12 years old and 12-14 years old. Once at age 14, the aim will be to get those talented players into the Barbados Cricket Association’s pathway so that they can have a career in cricket if they wish to.
There will be regular cricket training sessions for girls of all skill levels, organised friendly matches and tournaments, workshops on leadership, teamwork, and nutrition as well as community outreach programs to promote the sport. (JC)