With the 2019 season only weeks away, Crossflatts Cricket Club’s committee have promised to build on their success in youth development.

When a new committee was formed in December 2017 following a club restructure, one of the key areas to focus on was a new junior section.

The Ryshworth Park club was in a transitional period but the balance between youth and experience wasn’t quite right.

However, last season Crossflatts had nearly 90 juniors in their ranks at U9s, U11s and U17s levels.

The committee’s most successful venture to date has to be the introduction of England Cricket Board's (ECB) All Star programme for 5-8 year olds.

The 2019 season will be the club’s third programme after first running one back in 2017.

All Stars Cricket activator Mark Pennington said: “In the first season that we launched the All Stars programme, only 16 children signed up but it was a roaring success for us and the local community.

"We built on the successes last season and we saw the numbers jump to over 40 children. "This was quite challenging for us as a club but a lot of senior players really bought into our blueprint and they went on coaching courses to get up to speed.

"We now have eight ECB qualified coaches and six fully trained All Stars Activators to assist with the large numbers, plus parents are now starting to getting involved too.

"The programme definitely works as last season six of our All Stars progressed to U9s level quicker than expected. We are expecting this this year’s numbers to rise again.

Head of junior development Dominic Bennett has also been impressed by the programme's impact. He said: “The All Stars programme has been an amazing success over the last two summers and they have more than exceeded our expectations. We went into it not really knowing how well it would go down but we’ve had lots of good feedback from the players and their parents."

Bennett added that the cricket committee set out a blueprint when it was formed to have a full selection of junior teams from U9s to U17s by the start of the 2025 season.

He said: “We are only just in the middle of this project and we have made massive strides in such a short space of time but we still have lots of work to do.

"We're slowly edging towards our goal of having teams in every age group at junior level. In and among the current crop of juniors we have some very talented players who we have high hopes for and hope to see playing senior cricket within a couple of years.

"Our vision is to have a full set of junior teams by 2025 and then we want our homegrown youth players to work their way up to the senior teams.”

Throughout March, the club held three free taster sessions at Beckfoot School. These sessions were made possible by sponsorship from local companies.

Bennett said: "Over 70 per cent of attendees were new to cricket and we had some lovely feedback from parents who have told us how much their children are looking forward to attending our eight-week All Stars programme that starts in May.”

Steve Coulthard from the Yorkshire Cricket Board cast his eyes over the last session.

He said: “Crossflatts Cricket Club have really embraced the All Stars Cricket initiative and made it work very well. They've welcomed over 40 families in the past year, many of whom wouldn't have considered cricket as an activity for their children and who are now part of a fun, safe and expanding club.

"They have also recently been awarded the Clubmark accreditation which shows they have a sustainable, community-focused approach and are family-friendly.It's been a pleasure working with them over the last year and I'm sure they will continue this progress going forward.”

There are still limited places available on the club’s All Star Programme course, which starts on May 17. To sign up, visit ecb.clubspark.uk/AllStars/At/crossflatts