The 2020 calendar year was a very strange one for Junior Cricket with the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic very keenly felt. In the end, the domestic outdoor season was even more packed
than usual, but indoor and international events did not go ahead.
Junior cricket in Switzerland is only made possible by a purely voluntary effort of parents and coaches, putting in time and many kilometres for the future generation of cricketers. Junior Cricket is played in age groups of Under 11 and below, 13s, 15s, 17s and 19s. Clubs and schools with active junior participation are:
It is estimated there are upwards of 450 juniors playing cricket in Switzerland.
The year normally starts with an indoor tournament hosted by Basel Dragons in March. However, with the pandemic taking hold in Switzerland, country-wide restrictions meant that the tournament (and any training) had to be cancelled. The second wave meant the same fate befell the Gingins Indoor tournament scheduled for November.
The easing of restrictions allowed for training to restart in May, with very specific rules in place. Over the course of June and July some normality started to come back and friendlies could be
played. The Junior Festival of Cricket in Zuoz was sadly cancelled, but with summer travel much reduced a tournament was hosted by Zurich Crickets in the summer holidays. The U11 Summer Cup was
played in Basel and the U13 event at Embrach. Both events were won by Zurich Crickets.
With a lack of cricket during the summer, everyone was keen to catch up, making for a hectic start to the 2020/21 season. Cossonay hosted the Léman Cup once again, and for the first time an U19 event was hosted, which is an important part of U19 cricket development. German speaking Switzerland (Schweiz) won the U11, U13 and U19 events with French speaking (Suisse) prevailing in the U15 event. Bob Barber was present to hand out the awards for Best Junior Cricketer for the previous season.
The GRYCC organised Romande Cup came hot on the tail of the Leman Cup and, continuing the innovation, was a two day event in each of the age groups (U11, U13 and U15). With the weather in October
being unusually cool, weather apps were consulted on an hourly basis but all three events happened successfully with no overs lost. A combined Gingins/GRYCC team won the U11 event on bonus
points, ZCCC won a very close U13 event and a mixed team with players from BDJCC, GRYCC and others won the U15s.
In the adult competitions, the ZCCC continued their participation in the adult competitions, with a first XI reaching the T20 quarter finals. They also entered a 2nd XI in the T20 competition, giving a pathway for U15 cricketers to get even more experience.
All international events had to be cancelled with lockdowns and restrictions in place.
Just before restrictions hit, Zurich Crickets welcomed coaches from Hampshire to run a coaching weekend for the juniors, as well as a day for ten club coaches to learn skills and earn a CCAS
Level 1 certificate. Basel Dragons also had a Winter Academy with Scott Newman in February. With restrictions tightening in November, Basel Dragons continued with the innovation and started an
online Academy, streaming weekly one hour sessions open to anyone.
A number of the junior coaches also participated in the Stage 1 ECB Umpiring course that was held at the start of the year, and even more have taken advantage of the free online courses the ECB now provide.
The Swiss Sports and Cultural Association ran a number of camps over the summer for those in the Geneva area, which were very well attended and received.
A Swiss Junior Cricket Sub-committee was formed at the start of the year, with the Youth Development Officer as chair, and representatives from clubs with junior sections, as well as national coaches. The online calls (what soon became the norm for a lot of other areas) covered a wide range of topics relevant to junior cricket and served as a decision making forum where necessary.
It was a huge pleasure to welcome Bob Barber in person to the Léman Cup to hand out the previous year’s awards. Sadly with a limited domestic season and no international events, it was not possible to do the same for the 2019/20 season.
While cricket is once again suspended, there is light at the end of the tunnel with the deployment of vaccines. Hopefully this will allow for a fully packed year of cricket in 2021. There are also new clubs and associations with junior members looking to join Cricket Switzerland, showing an increasing health of the game. When cricket does restart, we can expect the players to be keen to take full advantage!
Youth Development Officer