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Atherton Cricket Club’s first team play in the Premier Division of the Bolton Cricket League (BCL), after a successful promotion season in 2019. They previously played in the Bolton & District Cricket Association until that league disbanded following the 2015 season and have worked hard to establish themselves in the new league.
The 1st XI is our primary team that we expect all our young cricketers to aspire to play in and hopefully go beyond as many others have done in the past, whether it be representative honours or a professional county cricketer. The most recent being Karl Brown who won the County Championship with Lancashire CCC after a 77-year wait.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions during the 2020 season, the BCL arranged a shortened season to try and give some clubs meaningful cricket but following stricter lockdown measures introduced in Bolton that had to be cut short.
Planning is well underway for 2021 and discussions are taking place to engage a professional and overseas amateur, dependent on the COVID-19 situation easing and cricket returning to its usual format.
All 1st XI matches are 50 overs per side, starting at 1:00pm, except the last 2 weekends in August which start at 12:30 and matches in September start at 12:00pm. Fixtures are primarily played on Saturdays but there may be a few Sunday cup matches.
Our 2nd XI currently have a very youthful team, with the majority of them under 25 years old. They are superbly led by captain Tom Mather, who returned to the club in 2019 after a few seasons away.
They are currently playing in the Association Division of the Bolton Cricket League 2nd XI structure and used the shortened to 2020 season to give some of our up and coming youngsters a taste of competitive senior cricket with a view to seeing them progress in 2021 and beyond.
All 2nd XI matches are 45 overs per side, starting at 1:00pm, except the last 2 weekends in August which start at 12:30 and matches in September start at 12:00pm. Fixtures are primarily played on Saturdays but there may be a few Sunday cup matches.
Our 3rd XI, or Development Team, was formed in 2016 to provide players with a shorter and more relaxed format of the game. This team is suitable to younger and older players alike and provides a good blend of youth and experience. Some of the players this team may be for:
The team play in the West Lancs Sunday League which is split into 2 divisions and also has cup competitions. We have performed well since joining the league with league championships and cup final victories to our name and we hope this continues for years to come.
All 3rd XI / Development Team matches are 40 overs per side, starting at 2:00pm on Sundays, including league and cup fixtures
We are confident that we have a team to suit all players abilities and preferences when it comes to the level that they want to play or aspire to play at.
Our 1st XI is the ‘flagship’ team where we would hope all up and coming cricketers want to play, using the club professional, overseas amateur and experienced players around them to further develop their skills and knowledge of the game.
The 2nd XI is possibly the most important team in terms of club longevity as it plays a vital role within our senior cricket structure and serves as much more than its name might suggest.
Players who consistently perform well at this level should be seen as pushing for a place in the 1st XI, while anyone struggling for form in the 1st XI could drop down to gain more time at the crease or bowling more overs.
The 2nd XI also sees experienced 1st XI players drop down a level, where they feel no longer able to play at their peak, but they now want to support the younger players and help them fulfill their potential by passing on their knowledge.
The 3rd XI / Development Team is a little more casual than the 1st or 2nd XI and aims to provide young cricketers experience in a longer format or allow older cricketers the option to continue playing
Our Under 9s are the youngest competitive team we have at Atherton; the team play in the Bolton League Under 9s league with games predominantly on Mondays and Fridays.
Games are either 8 or 10 players per side pairs cricket with each player given a set number of overs to bat, bowl and if they wish to keep wicket.
The game is played with an “incrediball” which is not as hard as a leather cricket ball which means players don’t need to wear pads and helmets. The ball does however resemble a real leather cricket ball including a stitched seam giving players the opportunity to get into good habits holding the ball correctly and using the seam.
Under 9s is the perfect way to introduce boys and girls to the game of cricket in a fun, safe but competitive environment.
Our Under 11s play in the Bolton Cricket League Under 11s section and play league games on Wednesday evenings with cup matches on Thursday evenings.
As with Under 9s, children play pairs cricket giving all players the opportunity to bat and bowl.
At Under 11s children are first introduced to playing cricket with a real cricket ball, and although not quite as big as a senior ball it’s made with the same materials and just as hard, providing an additional challenge to the players.
When batting, all Under 11s players must wear full protective equipment including leg pads, gloves and helmets in accordance with club, League and ECB regulations.
Under 11s cricket provides the opportunity for children to progress from softball to hardball cricket aiding their development and progression into full 11-a-side matches.
Under 13s is the first age group where the children play cricket with the full rules. The main difference from younger age groups is that the teams are full 11-a-side and once the batter is out, they can no longer bat in the game. This is the first level that players need to start to really value their wicket when batting as there is a consequence.
Our Under 13s play in the Bolton Cricket League Under 13s section with league games played on Sunday mornings and cup games played on Thursday evenings.
All games last for 20 overs unless the batting team lose all their wickets before the full allocation of overs are bowled, with batters retiring their innings when they reach 30, and bowlers bowling a maximum of 4 overs each.
Under 13s cricket gives players their first real taste of what we call “Proper Cricket” as the rules are the same as at senior level and it provides a great steppingstone into higher levels of the game.
Under 15s cricket is the final age group in our junior section. The team play in the Bolton Cricket League Under 15s section with league games played on Monday evenings and cup games played on Sunday mornings.
As with Under 13s, all games last for 20 overs unless the batting team lose all their wickets before the full allocation of overs are bowled, with batters retiring their innings when they reach 50 and bowler bowling a maximum of 4 overs.
Under 15s cricket is also the first age group that players use a full-size ball and provides the last stage in development before moving into senior cricket and longer formats of the game. At Under 15s level children also start to develop their own styles of play and develop their specialism with the game.
Since its inception, the AllStars program run by Atherton Cricket Club in association with the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has proved an overwhelming success with numbers growing year on year. The initiative is a formal 8-week program for boys & girls aged 5-9 starting in May each year. Either side of the 8-week program the club holds addition sessions for children of AllStars age focusing on core cricket skills whilst learning and having fun.
All sessions are held on Friday evenings starting at 6:15pm, with all equipment provided. During the weekly sessions the club and bar are also open creating an environment for children to enjoy their cricket and participate in physical activity whilst parents and family can support, while enjoying a drink or two to start the weekend off in a relaxed way.
All sessions are conducted by ECB and AllStars fully qualified coaches giving our parents the peace of mind and assurance that Atherton Cricket Club is the perfect environment to introduce your child to the game of cricket.
At Atherton Cricket Club we are always welcome to new players joining our junior sections, at all age groups. If you would like to find out more information or have any questions then please contact our Head of Junior Cricket, Greg Greenough on 07739 099974.
From the start of a player’s cricketing career all children are encouraged to train and play to the best of their abilities to get the most out of themselves whilst enjoying our sport.
At Atherton we work with all our juniors to create a pathway from junior cricket into senior cricket with the ultimate aim of playing in our 1st XI in the future.
All our coaches are ECB qualified, DBS checked, and first aid trained, providing a safe, structured and enjoyable environment to develop our juniors cricket careers.