Next wave of players joining Shepherds Bush Cricket Club

Shepherds Bush Cricket Club is about to celebrate its 140th anniversary. But it’s in the junior ranks that the excitement is really building.

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Pupils from St John’s Walham Green school play cricket at Shepherds Bush Cricket Club. PICTURE: SHEPHERDS BUSH CRICKET CLUB

Shepherds Bush Cricket Club (SBCC) is about to celebrate its 140th anniversary. But it’s in the junior ranks that the excitement is really building.

Tim Howard, who runs junior cricket at the club, is astonished by the boom in the girls’ and womens’ game, and confidently declares that it’s set to be the next big thing.

“We’ve been paying a particular focus to the girls,” he said. “This season we’ve taken on 50 girls who have been registered with the club. It’s been a big aspect of life at the club in the last 12 to 16 months.”

It means that SBCC has been running competitive matches for girls at U11 and U15 levels, and putting more time and energy into coaching and improving the women’s game.

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Middlesex Women’s first-team wicket-keepers Iqraa Hussain (left) and Amelie Munday (right)

First-team visit

Two of Middlesex Women’s first-team wicket-keepers, Iqraa Hussain, 22, and Amelie Munday, 19, recently visited the Shepherds Bush club during a training meeting for the girls, to pass on tips, hold a question-and-answer session and share their enthusiasm for this fast-growing sector of sport.

SBCC began encouraging girls’ cricket two years ago, but the big boom has followed the huge rise in televised women’s cricket. “The TV exposure is undoubtedly making the girls’ game bigger and bigger,” said Tim.

“But the other factor around here is west London schools taking rounders out and replacing that with cricket. It’s led to demand for girls’ cricket.”

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Middlesex Women cricketers visiting Shepherds Bush Cricket Club

The demand is being fuelled at grassroots level – in Hammersmith & Fulham primary schools – with rapid progression from a softball form of cricket to hardball. “It’s made a natural pathway for girls to go from softball to hardball... much like for the boys,” added Tim.

What it all adds up to is a significant improvement in the quality of girls’ and women’s cricket. “This is the first year back, after Covid, for the Hammersmith & Fulham primary schools’ cricket competition, and the difference from, say, five years is so great.”

SBCC runs the H&F primary cricket event, and its club coaches go into a number of local primaries to encourage participation.

The club also has a serious women’s team, which is growing its own support base, so there’s a development path in the girls’ game, just as there has always been from boys’ cricket into the men’s senior teams.

Although the junior season has now finished (it ends when schools break up for the summer), plans are already being made for enlisting new recruits ahead of next year’s start in early April.

Potential to soar

In boys’ cricket the standard is as strong as ever, with SBCC running matches at U9, U10, U11, U12, U13 and U15 levels. In the men’s game there are four strong teams playing each week... again with continued improvements in quality of play.

SBCC is pretty much at full capacity currently with boys’ cricket, but it’s the girls’ and women’s game that has the real potential to soar in coming years.

The club was set up in 1882, has more than 250 juniors playing regularly, and can offer a friendly, family atmosphere and thriving social side at the ground at 38 Bromyard Ave, W3 7BP.

140th anniversary party

The club is marking its 140th anniversary with a gala end-of-season dinner on Saturday 15 October, and is keen to welcome back notable players of the past. Keep an eye on the club’s Twitter account for details.

Meanwhile, if you’re a young cricketer, keen to improve your skills, the SBCC runs summer cricket camps for boys and girls aged five to 13, throughout August. The cost is £30 per day (10.30am-3pm). Book by emailing Tim Howard on

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