Berkhamsted Group, Girls | 09.05.2024

The growth of Girls Cricket at Berkhamsted

The growth of Girls Cricket at Berkhamsted

“For me,” says Katy Costin, Berkhamsted’s Assistant Director of Sport and a driving force behind the establishment of its girls cricket programme, “there is something about cricket that brings a totally different feel than any other sport in terms of playing as a team. I’ve noticed it brings something out in how the girls react and interact with each other that I don’t see anywhere else.” The reason for this can be hard to pin down, “but it is definitely there.” 

“Cricket allows the girls to be more vocal in their thoughts and tactically aware – the nature of cricket as a sport means they have to deal with things themselves, as a captain or as a team, much more than they might in other sports.” 

The development of Girls’ cricket at Berkhamsted has been an ad-hoc process. It has been a presence at the school for some time, but only in the last few years has the programme been offered as a full games option. The period following the pandemic saw the girls programme fully established, with a focus on ensuring there is equity between the boys and girls programmes, whether this be in a sharing of facilities, staff, and equipment. 

“The expectation now – which was not previously there – is that cricket is a real commitment and that Saturday fixtures are part of this,” explains Katy. Getting a full set of teams out on a Saturday continues to be a challenge, “but we are really going to have to persist with this culture, as you would expect whenever you try to grow something.” 

The 2021 summer saw 26 matches played across age groups from Under 9 to Under 18. The following summer saw 67 matches played across the same age groups, with the launch of a Girls 1st XI – composed of pupils from Year 8 up to Year 13 – who reached the semi-finals of the School Sport Magazine National Schools T20 Cricket Cup. The number of fixtures in the 2023 looks set to outstrip the previous year too. 

Meanwhile, efforts are being made to promote equity between the girls and boys programmes. Senior girls and boys teams trained together over the winter, which helped to promote a rapport and shared cricketing culture between the teams. Meanwhile female players often appear in the school’s 1st XI, an example set by former first team regular and 2022 leaver Bethan Miles. She is now part of the Southeast Stars squad. 

Miles has since returned to watch some of the Girls 1st XI games, and her success illustrates the pathway that lies open for girls who may wish to develop their cricket to the very top level. This is something Katy has been keen to establish, with a particular focus of development and maximising participation at Year 6, 7 and 8. This will not only help to establish a defined cricketing culture at the school, but also show a clear progression pathway for pupils. Katy would love to see more homegrown players emulate Bethan’s success by going on to achieve at a high level. The structure at the school will help this to come about, “the pathway from Year 3 to Year 13 is a cricketing one. The girls can now see a pathway of how to get from playing at school to where the professionals on TV are.”  

In September 2023 Berkhamsted appointed its first dedicated Head of Girls Cricket, in ECB Level 3 Coach Mark Costin, a move that further illustrates the school’s investment in the female side of the game. Berkhamsted also has strong links with Berkhamsted Cricket Club, Hertfordshire Cricket, Buckinghamshire Cricket, and The ACE Programme with whom they share expertise, facilities, and a player/pupil pathway. 

“We want to inspire people to keep on playing beyond their time at school,” concludes Katy. “If you can do that, then you’ve done your job really well.” 

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