Sport

Jones hopes thriving women and girls’ cricket sections can become norm

England cricket star Amy Jones picked up the game at a club that was ahead of its time but hopes thriving women’s sections will become the norm.

The wicket-keeper bat first played cricket at Walmley Cricket Club in Sutton Coldfield, a club which already had a strong girls’ section.

Thanks to the commitment of volunteers at the club, she was able to reach the very top, and now Jones is keen to inspire more girls to follow in her footsteps.

Speaking at the launch of the Metro Bank Girls In Cricket Fund, she said: “Looking back to when I started, my journey definitely was helped right at the start by volunteers and some really good coaches along the way.

“I started at Walmley and they had a women’s set-up so it was quite ahead of its time in many ways.

“There was a very passionate coach in John Smart and he ran the whole thing which was brilliant.

“There was a time when I wasn’t sure if I wanted to play with the girls because growing up playing football, it was all boys and all my friends were boys.

“But I joined quite quickly and settled in. It was really ahead of its time and a great environment. I owe a lot to the club.

“Now, as the England women’s team, it’s very high on our priority list to inspire and entertain people, one to come and watch us but also to play the game themselves.”

The Metro Bank Girls in Cricket Fund, co-designed and jointly funded by Metro Bank and ECB, focuses on recruiting, educating, supporting, and celebrating the people that make girls’ cricket in clubs happen, with the ambition to triple the number of girls’ teams at clubs by the end of 2026.

The 2023 National Cricket Playing Survey indicated that one of the main barriers for women and girls at all levels includes a distinct lack of female coaches in the girls’ game sitting at the heart of this.

Jones is hopeful that this investment can be a gamebreaker for the sport.

She added: “It’s hugely important. The support that Metro Bank are giving the women’s game is brilliant and I’m really excited to see the impact that it has. I think it will be huge, especially at grassroots.

“You want options, you want to see girls’ sections everywhere, in every club. You want lots and lots of girls to be playing and it looks like more and more people are taking it up every year.”

Amy Jones was speaking on behalf of Metro Bank. Head to metrobankonline.co.uk/cricket where you can discover more about the Metro Bank Girls In Cricket Fund, and help to champion the future of girls’ cricket.

Image: Karen Yeomans via Metro Bank

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