The first Women and Girls Sports Festival at the Emirates Riverside is held on July 23 in celebration of the ICC Women’s World Cup, hosted in England.
Taking place on the day of the WWC Final, the event will take the celebrations to a local level and encourage women and girls across the North East to engage in cricket and the guest sports – football and netball.
Sunderland Ladies are backing the initiative by leading the football section while the netball will be looked after by North East Netball.
The Sports Festival, delivered by Durham County Cricket Board in partnership with Durham County Cricket Club, is an effort to encourage women and girls to engage in sport and a commitment to showcase cricket as a female friendly sport.
Graeme Weeks, Director of Cricket at Durham County Cricket Board, said: “We’re really excited to hold such a big event dedicated exclusively to women and girls. With the festival being on the same day as the final of the World Cup, there’s no better time to celebrate women in sport.
“I’m thrilled that Sunderland Ladies and North East Netball are joining us. I think that it would be brilliant to see team sports come together in support of one ultimate aim.”
Held at the Emirates Riverside Cricket Ground, the Sports Festival will welcome teams and individuals across the North East.
Durham County Cricket Club chief executive, David Harker, said: “We are really looking forward to hosting the event and seeing the ground transform to a women’s venue. We’re committed to involving more girls and women in our sport and our venue and I think that the festival is a great way to do this.”
The event is open to women and girls of any age and ability.
With plenty to do on the field – introductions to the sports, showcase games, cricket masterclasses led by qualified coaches, skills challenges, batting and bowling simulators – everyone who joins will most certainly find something to their taste.
There will be a lot happening at the grandstands too, with music, food, bouncy castles and much more. Spectators are also invited.
Graeme said: “The festival isn’t just about getting girls and women at the venue to play. We organised a fun day to encourage families and friends to come along and support their daughter, or mum, or friend who has expressed interest in participating.
“It’s important to have women and girls being cheered and supported the way men in sport do. This is part of the idea of the event.”
The Sports Festival is part of Durham Cricket Board’s season-long campaign that strives to make cricket more accessible and appealing to female players. The campaign has already seen over 270 women play cricket for the first time.
Referring to the success of the initiative, Graeme said: “I think what we’ve done this year is make cricket more accessible to women than ever. This is something we’ve been working towards and I believe the initiative as a whole reflects the progress we’ve made.”
The Women and Girls Sports Festival takes place on July 23 at Emirates Riverside Cricket Ground from 12.00pm until 4.00pm.
Participants must register using the following link: bit.ly/nesportsfest