More than 250 players from Yorkshire’s Performance Pathway attended a special celebration at Headingley yesterday, (Thursday, 22 June) highlighting the vital work which has seen a dramatic increase in opportunities for young people across the county over the past 18 months.
Since the start of 2022, YCCC has been focused on building the programme to make sure that it is accessible, affordable, and fair. This includes measures to increase access for those from lower income households, including removal of match fees, the provision of kit free of charge, winter coaching provided free of charge and the creation of an accessible hardship fund for those that require further financial support. All cricketers on the programme also have access to YCCC Junior Memberships, which gives them the opportunity to watch both the men’s team and the Northern Diamonds during the season.
Through targeted investment and an emphasis on an inclusive culture, the Club has seen a rise in both girls and boys taking part across age groups. Last year saw a 40 per cent increase in attendees for regional observations, a 60 per cent increase in participants from a diverse background in the Boys County Age Group performance pathway, as well as a 62 per cent increase in participation in observations in the Girls County Age Group from 2021-2022. So far this year, a total of 1,800 budding cricketers have attended, and 900 free Club memberships handed out to participants.
The Yorkshire Family currently has 115 girls representing Yorkshire between under 11s and under 18s. The Yorkshire’s Boys programme includes 119 boys representing the County between under 12s and under 16s, plus more than 30 players who have already represented Yorkshire’s Academy this year. A further 380 boys take part in our Regional programme, which sees North, East and Central, South and West Yorkshire all compete against each other and other counties in a full summer programme.
To mark this ongoing progress boys and girls from under 11s age group through to under 18s players, alongside friends and family, attended the Yorkshire Vikings clash against Birmingham Bears on Thursday, 22 June, 2023. As part of the special celebration of the Club’s performance pathway programme the young people took part in an honorary pitch walk of the hallowed turf at Headingley, cheered on by thousands watching on.
James Martin, The Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s Head of Performance Pathway, said: “It is important to recognise the future of Yorkshire CCC alongside these young people’s passion, hard work and dedication in representing our great county.
“We remain focused on increasing the opportunity for players to move from grassroots through to elite level. Our Performance Pathway has been a key building block in ensuring we can encourage greater access to cricket and deliver on our vision creating a Club which is truly welcoming and inclusive for the next generation.
“We are conscious that the results we have seen so far are foundations to be built on. There remains much work to be done to tackle what is a key issue for the Club and the wider game. Nevertheless, we are proud of the clear, demonstrable progress that is being made and expect to see it leading to increased representation at senior level in due course.”
YCCC Performance Pathway player Joseph, 14, who has been part of the player programme for four years, and took part in the pitch walk, said: “It was really special, you dream of playing on here and it’s where the pros play.”
Jeanie, who is part of the girls u15 programme, said: “It was a really amazing event to be part of, especially at this incredible stadium.”
Parent Claire Campagna, whose son Enzo, 14, was also involved, said: “It’s been a brilliant night and it’s nice that the Performance Pathway team can all come together to celebrate and with the game going on it’s like an extra special occasion.
“Everyone has absolutely loved it and to to capture the whole group photo on the pitch was fantastic.
“Seeing the players here tonight will absolutely inspire all the young people. To wear the rose, and be in Yorkshire kit and in this environment just makes it extra special for them all. Tonight it feels like a very extra special Yorkshire Family.”
Khalid Muneer, whose son is part of the under 11s, added: It was absolutely fantastic, my son has absolutely loved being part of the whole Pathways programme and he was really looking foreword to this – what an experience to walk out at Headingley with all his teammates.
“Evenings like this inspire – the chance to get up close to their heroes, the fact that they get to walk on the pitch that seniors play on really gets them to inspire what the pros have achieved.”
Further to the special celebration the Performance Pathway will also be showcased in September when they will play at Headingley Cricket Ground as part of a Pathway Celebration Day.